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CRIME

Egypt refuses to accuse police over Italian student’s murder

Italian prosecutors may open a formal investigation into Egyptian secret service agents over the death of student Giulio Regeni.

Egypt refuses to accuse police over Italian student's murder
A picture of Giulio Regeni held up at a demonstration in front of Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament, in Rome. Photo: AFP

Egypt refuses to accuse police officers suspected by Italy of involvement in the grisly murder of an Italian student because of a lack of evidence, authorities said.

According to Italian media, Italian prosecutors could open a formal investigation into several Egyptian secret service agents.

Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old doctoral researcher at Britain's Cambridge University, disappeared in Cairo in 2015.

Regeni, a PhD student, went missing in the Egyptian capital on January 25th, 2015. His body was found days later by a roadside, bearing torture marks

An Italian autopsy showed that Regeni's body was covered with cuts and his bones were broken, indicating he had been hit with “fists, batons and hammers”.

A letter “X” was carved on his forehead and hand, according to the report cited by Italian media.

The a case has strained traditionally close relations between Cairo and Rome, which accused Egypt of insufficient cooperation in the probe.

READ ALSO: Slain Italian student's body 'unrecognizable', says mum

Egypt has always strongly denied suggestions that its security services were involved in the death of Regeni, who was researching trade unions in Egypt, a politically sensitive topic in the country.

“Charges should be based on evidence and not suspicions,” Egypt's State Information Service said in a statement released late on Sunday.

Egyptian and Italian public prosecutors met in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the investigations into Regeni's case, it said, quoting a judicial source.

The Italian prosecutors asked their Egyptian counterparts “to approve the inclusion of a number of Egyptian policemen on its register of suspects in Italy”, it added.

The policemen are suspected by Italian prosecutors of gathering information about Regeni, according to the source.

Frustrated at the slow pace of the probe, Italy withdrew its ambassador to Egypt in April 2016, but sent a new envoy to Cairo the following year.

Egyptian authorities initially suggested Regeni died in a traffic accident, but later said he was killed by a criminal gang that was subsequently wiped out in a shootout with police.

READ MORE: Regeni family appeal to pope to raise case with Egypt

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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