Italian parliamentary committee accuses Egypt of Regeni coverup

Italians protest outside Egyptian embassy in Rome.

Italy's parliamentary committee that oversees the country's intelligence services (COPASIR) has accused Egypt of attempting to cover up the murder of 28-year-old Italian student Giulio Regeni whose mutilated body was found dumped in a Cairo suburb on 3 February, nine days after he went missing.

The panel's hard-hitting comments on 25 February came a day after the Egyptian interior ministry suggested that Regeni may have been murdered out of "revenge for personal reasons."

It was the latest theory provided by Egypt as possible causes for Regeni's death – which so far include the student being killed in a road accident and being murdered for spying activities – all of which have been quickly dismissed by Italy.

While COPASIR called on Egypt to allow Italian police access to "all the audio and video evidence, as well as news on Regeni's last contacts and movements", a protest took place outside the Egyptian embassy on Via Salaria in Rome. The roughly 100 protestors included representatives from human rights groups such as the Italian branch of Amnesty International, which says that Regeni's killing bears the hallmarks of the security services, a charge continuously rejected by Egypt.

The interjection by COPASIR came four days after Italian premier Matteo Renzi stepped up pressure on Cairo by reiterating his calls for Egypt to help uncover the truth surrounding Regeni's death.

Regeni had been in Cairo since September to conduct research for his doctoral thesis on Egyptian labour rights and underground trade unions. He went missing on 25 January, the fifth anniversary of the popular revolution that toppled the nearly three-decade rule of former president Hosni Mubarak.

His semi-naked, partially-burned body showed “signs of torture” including stab wounds, broken bones, electrocution and a brain haemorrhage, indicating a “slow death”, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on 4 February.

The case has attracted an angry response from Italians and has chilled the normally close diplomatic and commercial relations between Italy and Egypt.