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Italian prosecutors name 4 Egyptian security forces as suspects in Regeni murder

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Italian prosecutors said on Thursday they had wrapped up their investigation into the disappearance and murder of student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in 2016, and named four senior members of Egypt’s security forces as possible suspects.

In a statement, the prosecutors said all four were suspected of having a role in the “aggravated kidnapping” of Regeni, while one of them, a major in Egypt’s general intelligence, might also face charges of “conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.”

The prosecutors gave the four men 20 days to submit statements or ask to be heard in the case. After that time, the investigators will decide whether or not to seek their trial.

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There was no immediate comment from Egyptian authorities. Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in his killing.

Regeni, a 28-year-old postgraduate student at Cambridge University, vanished in Cairo in January 2016. His body was found almost a week later and a post mortem examination showed he had been tortured before his death.

The prosecutors’ move came just over a week after Egypt announced that it was temporarily suspending its investigation into the murder of Regeni, saying it had reservations about the evidence Italy had compiled.

Italian and Egyptian investigators had been working together to try to solve the crime. But judicial sources told Reuters last year that Italy was frustrated by the slow pace of developments in Egypt and decided to press ahead with its own line of inquiry in an effort to move things forward.

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Italy originally placed five Egyptians under investigation in the case, but the prosecutors said on Thursday there was insufficient evidence to proceed against one of them.

Regeni disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the start of the 2011 uprising that ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.

Intelligence and security sources told Reuters in 2016 that police had arrested Regeni outside a Cairo metro station and then transferred him to a compound run by Homeland Security.

The police denied this and in a statement on Nov. 30, Egypt’s public prosecution said it had evidence against a criminal gang accused of robbing Regeni but believed that “the material perpetrator” of the murder remains unknown.