CAIRO – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told a visiting Italian official on Wednesday that there is a "strong will" to bring the killers of an Italian researcher to justice, an Egyptian spokesman said.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University doctoral student who was studying labor unions in Egypt, was abducted in January 2016 and tortured for several days before his body was left on a desert highway north of Cairo.
During a meeting in Cairo with Italy's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, el-Sissi expressed confidence that the investigation into Regeni's death would be completed, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.
Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi came to Egypt earlier this month, the first visit by a senior Italian official since Regeni's death. He said Italy was "confident that justice will be brought in this really tragic and painful case."
Regeni went missing on Jan. 25, the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, when police were out in force throughout the city to prevent protests. Egypt has waged a heavy crackdown on dissent in recent years, jailing thousands of dissidents. Rights groups have documented a number of disappearances and say torture is widespread in Egyptian detention facilities.
Regeni's family has accused Egyptian security forces of being behind the killing. Egyptian officials have denied any involvement by security services in Regeni's abduction or death.
Italy withdrew its ambassador in 2016, saying Egypt was not cooperating with the investigation. An ambassador returned last September.
Egyptian and Italian investigators have been working together to retrieve surveillance footage from the Cairo subway system as part of a joint investigation. They said in June that footage from the system on the day of Regeni's disappearance does not include images of him. However, there are gaps in the footage which need "further sophisticated examination," they said.