Four Egyptians on trial in Rome for 2016 killing of Italian student

Rome, Feb 20, (dpa/GNA) – The trial of four Egyptian security officers, accused of killing Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in Cairo eight years ago, began on Tuesday in Rome without the defendants present.

The high-ranking officers are accused of abducting, torturing and murdering the then 28-year-old. They are being tried in absentia as they have still not been handed over.

The parents of the victim were present in court. “We have waited eight long years for this moment,” the parents’ lawyer Alessandra Ballerini said.

Regeni was researching the Egyptian trade union movement for his doctoral thesis, a sensitive topic in the authoritarian country.

He disappeared without a trace at the end of January 2016. His mutilated body, covered in torture marks, was found a few days later in a ditch near Cairo.

Human rights activists reported that the marks on his body resembled those of other victims of torture by Egyptian security forces.

At the time, the case caused a serious diplomatic row between Rome and Cairo. Italy withdrew its ambassador from Egypt and only sent a replacement to Cairo more than a year later.

The case still shadows relations between the two countries today.

It is already the second trial in the case. The first was suspended in 2021 due to questions about the legality of the proceedings, including whether the suspects were even aware of the charges.