March 16, 2016 / 9:43 AM / in 2 years

Egypt president vows to find and punish killers of Italian student

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech at the Lower House of parliament in Tokyo, Japan, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

ROME (Reuters) - Egypt will spare no effort to find and punish those who tortured and killed an Italian student in Cairo, the country’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said an interview published on Wednesday.

Giulio Regeni, 28, a Cambridge University researcher, was found in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo on Feb. 3. His body was bruised and broken.

“I confirm that we will spare no efforts and continue to work with the Italian authorities to arrest the perpetrators, so that they can be punished according to the law,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

He called the incident “terrifying and unacceptable” and vowed to intensify cooperation with Italian investigators.

Regeni 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.

In the interview, Sisi suggested that the murder may have been carried out to hurt Italian-Egyptian ties.

“Why did it happen when bilateral relations gather unprecedented momentum both politically and economically? Are there any beneficiaries who seek to impede relations, given the turbulent situation in the region?” he said.

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.

(Story corrects student’s first name to Giulio not Carlo.)

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Toby Chopra

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