March 10, 2016 / 4:27 PM / in 2 years

Italy prosecutor to go to Cairo to investigate student's killing

ROME (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors investigating the torture and killing of an Italian student in Cairo will travel there to meet Egyptian magistrates, Rome’s chief prosecutor said on Thursday.

People attend a memorial for Giulio Regeni outside the Italian embassy in Cairo, Egypt, February 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The announcement came as the European Parliament backed a resolution saying disappearances and torture have become increasingly common in Egypt, calling on Cairo to cooperate fully with Italy.

Chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone met Egypt’s ambassador to Italy, Amr Helmy, and accepted an invitation to meet soon with Cairo magistrates investigating the killing, Pignatone said in a statement.

Cambridge University student Giulio Regeni, 28, disappeared in January and his bruised and broken body was found in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo on Feb. 3.

He had been studying Egypt’s independent labor unions and had written critical articles about the government. Rome prosecutors suspect he was murdered by Egyptian security services who considered him a spy, according to judicial sources.

Egypt has denied this, suggesting common criminals or Islamist militants were involved.

Italy sent a seven-person team to investigate but after a month they have not received all the evidence they say is needed to properly conduct the investigation.

The European Parliament “strongly condemns the torture and assassination under suspicious circumstances of EU citizen Giulio Regeni,” read the resolution.

Egypt must give Italy “all the information and documentation necessary to conduct a rapid, transparent and impartial investigation into the Regeni case,” it said.

It called on European Union diplomats to pressure Egypt to improve its human rights record, saying Regeni’s killing occurred “within a context of torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt in recent years.” Egypt has denied human rights abuses.

Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Dominic Evans

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