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CRIME

Egypt rejects police role in brutal death of Italian student

Egypt's Interior Minister on Monday rejected charges of security forces involvement in the case of Italian Giulio Regeni, who was found dead bearing signs of torture after disappearing in Cairo last month.

Egypt rejects police role in brutal death of Italian student
Egypt Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar at a press conference on Monday. Photo: Mostafa Abulez/AFP

“This did not happen,” Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said at a press conference when a reporter asked if Regeni, a Cambridge University PhD student, had been arrested by the police.

“It is completely unacceptable that such accusations be directed” at the interior ministry, he said.

“This is not Egyptian security policy – Egyptian security has never been accused of such a matter.”

The ministry has been accused by critics in Egypt of using excessive force, and several policemen are being tried for torture-related deaths.

The ministry says these are isolated cases.

Regeni disappeared on January 25th and was found dead on February 3rd in a ditch in a Cairo suburb.

An Italian autopsy after his remains were repatriated at the weekend concluded that he was killed by a violent blow to the base of the skull having already suffered multiple fractures all over his body.

Rights activists and several opposition groups say Regeni, who was doing research on Egyptian trade union movements, had been arrested by the police and tortured.

The diplomatic community and the Italian media have also raised the possibility of torture.

Abdel Ghaffar said Regeni had not been arrested, and his death was “certainly a criminal act”.

He said no suspects have yet been arrested.

“We are still in the phase of information gathering. This matter needs some time,” he said.

Global rights groups have regularly denounced mysterious disappearances of activists, torture and beating of detainees in Egyptian detention centres.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has himself urged security forces to restrain themselves after several cases of custodial deaths emerged in recent months.

Regeni went missing in central Cairo while on the way to meet a friend on January 25th, the fifth anniversary of the start of the uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

On the anniversary Cairo was quiet, with police deployed across the capital to prevent any demonstrations.

CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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