Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Regeni fact-finding committee

A parliamentary committee was formed this week to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni, Gamal Essam El-Din reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Parliament this week said it will form a fact-finding committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in January.

Regeni’s death — his tortured body was dumped on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road at the end of January — has provoked a crisis in Egyptian-Italian relations. Rome recalled its ambassador from Cairo two months ago and on 7 July the Italian parliament voted to suspend the supply of military spare parts to Egypt. The measures, says Rome, were taken to protest what it claims is Egypt’s failure to cooperate in the investigation into Regeni’s death.

In a statement to reporters on Monday Kamal Amer, head of parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee, said three parliamentary committees had decided to form a fact-finding commission to gather information from the prosecution authorities in charge of investigating the Regeni case.

“The authorities entrusted with investigating this case now know that parliament has formed a fact-finding committee with which they must deal openly and transparently,” said Amer.

He also disclosed that a crisis management group had been formed in a bid to contain tensions with Italy over the killing of Regeni. “This group will include representatives from parliament and other state authorities to follow up on developments in the Regeni crisis,” said Amer.

The Monday meeting at which the Regeni case was discussed was attended by Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, head of the Human Rights Committee, Mohamed Al-Orabi, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Amer. It also included the deputy interior minister, representatives from the Interior Ministry’s departments of national security and general security, the Justice Ministry and the prosecutor-general’s office.

“In addition to forming the fact-finding committee and crisis management group participants in the meeting also proposed that a form of ‘soft diplomacy’ be followed with Italy,” said Amer.

“By soft diplomacy what we mean is that state authorities should refrain from adopting any confrontational positions towards Italy,” explained Amer, a former head of Military Intelligence.Visits by a delegation of MPs to European parliaments were among the proposals to reduce tensions discussed during the two-hour meeting.

“We proposed that an Egyptian parliamentary delegation visit parliaments in Italy, France, England and Greece to explain the difficulties surrounding the Regeni case and why the investigation is taking so long,” ‎said Amer. He also revealed the fact finding committee will report directly to parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal. 

Yehia Kidwani, deputy chairman of the Defence Committee, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the fact-finding commission would prepare a “detailed report” on the Regeni case as soon as possible and propose strategies for containing the ongoing crisis. “We hope that the detailed report will be discussed by parliament at the earliest possible date since all MPs have the right to be kept informed of developments in the Regeni case,” said Kidwani.

On Sunday Mohamed Al-Orabi, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told MPs that while in Italy last week to attend a Mediterranean parliamentary conference he had advised his Italian counterpart to maintain open channels of dialogue with Egypt rather than opt for escalatory steps.Margaret Azer, deputy chairman of the Human Rights Committee, told reporters that the fact-finding commission had already asked officials from the Interior Ministry to explain the circumstances surrounding the shooting by police of five men it claimed were involved in the kidnap and torture of Regeni.

“Most of the information about the case comes from unreliable media sources,” claimed Azer.  “This has been made clear in the reaction to accusations leveled at the Interior Ministry that its officers killed Regeni.”

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