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Italy slams Egypt's stance on killing as 'punch in the face'

ROME (AP) — The president of the lower house of Italy's Parliament has slammed Egypt’s stance in a probe to bring to justice the torturers and killers of an Italian doctoral student who disappeared in Cairo while researching labor movements in Egyt.

Chamber of Deputies President Roberto Fico told Italian state TV on Friday that lack of satisfactory cooperation from Egyptian prosecutors in solving the 2016 killing of Giulio Regeni amounted to a ‘’punch in the face″ of Italy.

Fico, a leading member of the main party in Italy's coalition government, the populist 5-Star Movement, was expressing frustration that the discussions Italian prosecutors had with their Egyptian counterparts this week failed to elicit progress.

Since late 2018, Italian prosecutors have called for Egypt to hand over five intelligence and police service officials or to at least help Italy prosecute them in absentia. Some Italian lawmakers have contended that the only progress so far in the case came after Italy temporarily yanked its ambassador to Egypt. Regeni's parents are pressing Premier Giuseppe Conte to again withdraw the Italian envoy in Cairo to protest what is perceived as Egyptian resistance to exposing the truth and delivering justice.

But Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio insisted the ambassador needs to stay put so the truth will emerge. “The Giulio Regeni case is an open wound for the entire country,” Di Maio told reporters Friday. “In these very hours, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Egyptian ambassador for further information, and also the Egyptian prosecutor office has stated that they will act with extreme transparency.”

Di Maio added that he hoped “words will be followed by facts.” Tension over the case comes at a sensitive time for Conte's increasingly squabbling coalition. Many lawmakers, including from the Democratic Party, the coalition's junior partner, have objected to plans to sell two Italian-made frigates to Egypt. Final government approval of the sale is pending.

Regeni's mother has said her son was so badly beaten and otherwise tortured that she only recognized the tip of his nose when she viewed his body.

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