Italy recalls ambassador from Cairo over Regeni case

Recall of ambassador follows lack of progress in Regeni murder investigation.

Rome recalled the Italian ambassador from Egypt over lack of progress in the investigation into the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose mutilated body was found in a west Cairo suburb on 3 February, nine days after he disappeared.

The move followed recent inconclusive talks in Rome between Italian prosecutors and Egyptian investigators who presented Cairo's findings into the high-profile case which has strained the normally close diplomatic relations between Italy and Egypt. The talks broke down after Egypt refused to hand over mobile phone records from Cairo's 6 October district where Regeni's tortured body was found, saying it violated the Egyptian constitution.

Ambassador Maurizio Massari is expected to discuss the situation on 12 April with Italy's foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni, who is currently at the G7 meeting of foreign ministers in Japan. Gentiloni told Italian news agency ANSA in Japan that Italy's measures were "immediate and proportional", and were not designed to "trigger world wars with Egypt but to guarantee respect and dignity for Italy."

Egypt has offered numerous explanations concerning Regeni's death, all of which have been dismissed by Italy. Egypt’s interior ministry continues to deny persistent media reports suggesting the involvement of its security agencies in the death of Regeni, who had been in Cairo to conduct research for his doctoral thesis on Egyptian labour rights and underground trade unions.

Italian premier Matteo Renzi has consistently said that Italy will not rest until the truth comes out, while Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a NATO delegation in Cairo on 5 April that “individual incidents” such as Regeni's murder will not affect Egyptian-Italian relations.