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Egypt 'temporarily' closes file of Italian student's murder

Egypt is to "temporarily" end its investigation into the murder of Italian student Guilio Regeni, who was found dead in Cairo in 2016, Egyptian and Italian prosecutors said in a joint statement on Monday.

The press release said that Egypt's prosecution had evidence that a criminal gang carried out the murder for the purpose of robbing Regeni, adding that the identities of the perpetrators remain unknown.

Giulio Regeni – Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Rome prosecutor's office, in the same statement, stated that its own investigation found that five Egyptian security agents were suspected of the murder, but they likely carried out the crime in a personal capacity.

However, Egypt said it had "extreme reservations" on the findings of the Italian prosecution.

"Egypt's public prosecution will proceed to the temporary closure of the case … charging the competent investigative authorities to take all necessary measures to identify those responsible for the murder," the statement said.

Regeni, 28, was a Cambridge University doctoral researcher. He disappeared in January 2016 in Cairo, where he was carrying out research on Egyptian trade unions. His body was found one week later bearing signs of torture.

READ: Egypt security officials suspected of torturing Regeni set to face trial

Egypt's prosecution said that the gang, which murdered Regeni, carried out similar crimes against Egyptian and foreign nationals and used false documents linking them to the security apparatus.

According to the Egyptian Public Prosecutor, there is insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.

Reuters reported a legal source in Rome saying that the Italian prosecutors are expected to push for the trial of some or all of the five suspects, noting that the case is expected to be formally closed on Friday.

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