Italy summons Egyptian ambassador over suspicious Cairo death

ROME (REUTERS) – Italy’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday (Feb 4)  summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Rome to express concern about the suspicious death of an Italian man in Cairo and to urge a joint investigation, according to a statement.

The ministry’s director general, Michele Valensise,“urgently” summoned Egyptian Ambassador Amr Mostafa Kamal Helmy after the body of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni, a graduate student at Britain’s Cambridge University, was found on Wednesday (Feb 3).

He had disappeared on Jan 25, the five-year anniversary of the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. In the run-up to the anniversary, police detained activists and warned people not to demonstrate.

Regeni’s  body showed signs of torture, officials said on Thursday (Feb 4). The ministry said it expected “maximum collaboration at all levels in light of the exceptional gravity of what happened”.  “In his country’s name, Helmy expressed profound condolences for Regeni’s death and assured us Egypt will cooperate fully in finding those responsible for this criminal act,” the statement said. 

Last year, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants kidnapped a Croatian man from the outskirts of Cairo and later beheaded him, but such incidents are rare and there was a heavy police presence in downtown Cairo when  Regeni went missing.