The Italian government denied on Wednesday that the US, during the Obama administration, had given it explosive evidence or actionable information on the involvement of Egyptian security officials in the murder of Giulio Regeni, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The denial comes after the New York Times published a report, on August 15, titled “Why was the Italian Graduate Student Murdered in Egypt,” stating that the US, under Obama, acquired evidence that Regeni was abducted, tortured and killed by the Egyptian secret services in early 2016.
“We had incontrovertible evidence of official Egyptian responsibility,’’ an Obama administration official — one of three former officials who confirmed the intelligence — told Declan Welsh of the NY Times.
To avoid identifying the source, the Americans did not share the raw intelligence, nor did they say which security agency they believed was behind Regeni’s death. ‘‘It was not clear who gave the order to abduct and, presumably, kill him,’’ another former official told the NY Times.
However, the Italian premier’s office said on Wednesday that the Obama administration gave no solid “explosive evidence” or real actionable information to the previous Renzi government that Giulio Regeni was tortured and murdered by the Egyptian secret services.
“Egypt has offered ever increasing cooperation with Rome, which spurred Italy to send ambassador Giampaolo Cantini to Cairo Monday, after Rome withdrew its ambassador in April 2016 in protest at lack of cooperation,” the Italian premier’s office said.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, announced Monday, the appointment of a new ambassador to Egypt, to succeed Ambassador Maurizio Massari, who returned to Italy following the murder of Regeni.
Regeni’s family later said it was “indignant” at the post of the ambassador, and posted a photo of an Italian flag at half mast, saying it was “doubly in grief” at their son’s death.
Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano responded by stressing that Cantini will be tasked with seeking the truth about Regeni
ANSA reported on Thursday that the Italian government will be briefing the House and Senate foreign affairs committees on September 4 on the government’s decision to send Cantini to Cairo, after cited progress in the cooperation over the torture and murder case of student Giulio Regeni, committee heads said Thursday.
The Italian government withdrew its ambassador to Egypt in April 2016 over the slow process and stilted investigations into Regeni’s brutal murder, which experts and officials widely believe was the work of the state – despite staunch denials by the Egyptian government.
In April 2016, the former Italian ambassador to Cairo, Maurizio Massari, left Egypt after the Italian government decided to recall him. The decision followed a meeting between Egyptian and Italian investigative teams on the murder of Regeni.
Italian Prime Minister at the time, Matteo Renzi, stated through his twitter account, that Italy decided to recall its ambassador to Egypt following a meeting with the Egyptian investigative delegation in Italy.
The meeting that occurred before the recall of the Italian ambassador took place in Italy, where Egyptian and Italian investigators failed to reach a consensus on the motive behind the murder of Regeni.