Egypt Editor Warns of Crack in Ties With Italy Over Learner

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 10:48 PM

In a front-page column, Al-Ahram'south Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Abdel-Hadi Allam subtly suggested that Guilio Regeni'south killing might've the same impact in Egypt as the two thousand ten beating to death by police of an Egyptian youth in the coastal city of Alexandria.

The editor of Egypt'south top state newspaper called on authorities on Sun to seriously deal with the case of an Italian learner tortured and killed in Cairo, saying executive who don't realize the gravity of the case are risking a crack in Egyptian-Italian relations.

In a front-page column, Al-Ahram'south Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Abdel-Hadi Allam subtly suggested that Guilio Regeni'south killing might've the same impact in Egypt as the two thousand ten beating to death by police of an Egyptian youth in the coastal city of Alexandria. The brutal death of Khaled Said helped ignite a favorite 18-day uprising that began on Jan. twenty-five, two thousand eleven and toppled the 29-year regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

"The Khaled Said case, despite its circumstances, didn't go far love some thought at the time," he warned. "The naive stories about Regeni'south death have damage Egypt at residence and overseas and offered some a justification to judge what's going on in the country presently to be number different from what went on before the Jan. twenty-five revolution."

Regeni'south death has roiled Egyptian-Italian relations. Latest mo Egyptian authorities implied that Regeni had been killed by a criminal gang specializing in kidnapping foreigners. Authorities said all members of the gang had been killed in a shootout and that Regeni'south passport and several personal items had been found in the gang leader'south home. The announcement was immediately rejected by Italian media and by Regeni'south family, who have publicly stated a trust that Regeni was killed by Egyptian security forces.

Premier Matteo Renzi has insisted Italy will settle for nothing less than the truth.

Allam, in his column, charged that Egypt was embarrassed and placed in a "very grave situation" by executive who didn't realize the "cost of truth" and the priority given to human rights in Europe.

A "moment of truth" between Egypt and Italy over what happened to Regeni may be quick approaching, he said, adding that "futile dealings" and "gross exaggerations" may not be useful.

It's different for an editor in chief of a state-owned newspaper, particularly the traditionally cautious Al-Ahram, to be so outspoken on a sensitive issue, something that speaks to the enormity of the crisis in Egypt'south relations with Italy — its biggest European Union trade partner and a key market for its now-battered tourism sector. Allam'south counsel that the truth should be brought to light seemed maintain the contention that the official criminal gang explanation isn't the true story.

"The lack of understanding by some executive of the cost of truth, to declare nothing of the priority given to human rights in European societies, places the Egyptian state in an embarrassing and extremely grave predicament," he wrote. "Before the moment of truth is upon us, we appeal to the state to handle the case with the utmost seriousness and bring the culprits to justice."

He added: "Those who don't appreciate the danger posed to Egyptian-Italian relations by the incident and the edginess in Rome are pushing toward a crack in diplomatic relations with Italy."

Egyptian authorities insist they're cooperating fully with Italy and a team of Egyptian prosecutors is headed to Rome later this week to review the case with their Italian counterparts.

Significantly, a private Italian tourism grouping promoting "responsible tourism" announced over the weekend the suspension of all activities in Egypt, including organizing travel packages, "until the tragic event of Regeni'south murder is clarified."

The Italian Responsible Tourism Organization (AITR) said "a ride and a vacation aren't possible in the context of pain and indignation." AITR said its tour operators had agreed with the move and that members, which no just over one hundred, had already suspended all their activities regarding Egypt.

Regini disappeared on Jan. 25., the fifth anniversary of the anti-Mubarak uprising. His brutally tortured body was found nine days later by the side of a road in a Cairo suburb. Egyptian authorities have since offered several explanations for his death, including a road accident and a crime of passion, before producing the criminal kidnapping theory.

———

Associated Press writer Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy contributed to this report.

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