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Lawyer investigating Italian student’s murder ‘disappears’ as he tries to leave Egypt

A lawyer involved in the investigation of an Italian student murdered in Egypt has been arrested by Egyptian authorities as he attempted to leave the country, a rights group said on Tuesday.Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was detained at Cairo International airport three days ago as he was due to board a flight for Geneva – the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders said – where he was due to attend a UN meeting on enforced disappearances in Egypt. His current whereabouts is still unknown

Hegazy and his son had provided legal assistance to the family of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose tortured body was discovered in Cairo with suspicion that Egyptian authorities could be behind the murder.

Regeni disappeared on 25 January in Cairo, where he was researching trade union activity in the North African country.

Italian prosecutors have complained that Egypt has not cooperated in the unsolved case, amid widespread suspicion of foul play involving Egyptian authorities.

Frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation, Italy recalled its ambassador from Egypt in protest, but recently announced that a new envoy would take up the post following some improvements in the handling of the case.

Regeni’s family slammed the return of the Italian envoy to Cairo saying it has “the taste of capitulation done up as art”.

“It’s only when we know the truth about who killed Giulio and why, when his torturers and all their accomplices are handed over to us, alive, that the ambassador can return to Cairo without trampling on our dignity,” they said in a statement.

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