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Egypt refuses to accuse police over Italian student's murder

Activists demonstrate in front the Italian Parliament on January 25, 2017 to mark the first anniversary since the disappearance in Egypt of Italian student Giulio Regeni
Activists demonstrate in front the Italian Parliament on January 25, 2017 to mark the first anniversary since the disappearance in Egypt of Italian student Giulio Regeni Activists demonstrate in front the Italian Parliament on January 25, 2017 to mark the first anniversary since the disappearance in Egypt of Italian student Giulio Regeni AFP
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Cairo (AFP)

Egypt refuses to accuse police officers suspected by Italy of involvement in the grisly murder of an Italian student because of a lack of evidence, the authorities said.

Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old doctoral researcher at Britain's Cambridge University, disappeared in Cairo in January 2016.

His body was found by a roadside bearing extensive marks of torture in a case that strained the traditionally close relations between Cairo and Rome, which accused Egypt of insufficient cooperation in the probe.

According to Italian media, Italian prosecutors could open a formal investigation into several Egyptian secret service agents.

Egypt has always denied suggestions that its security services were involved in the death of Regeni, who was researching trade unions in Egypt.

"Charges should be based on evidence and not suspicions," Egypt's State Information Service said in a statement released late on Sunday.

Egyptian and Italian public prosecutors met in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the investigations into Regeni's case, it said, quoting a judicial source.

The Italian prosecutors asked their Egyptian counterparts "to approve the inclusion of a number of Egyptian policemen on its register of suspects in Italy", it added.

The policemen are suspected by Italian prosecutors of gathering information about Regeni, according to the source.

Frustrated at the slow pace of the probe, Italy withdrew its ambassador to Egypt in April 2016, but sent a new envoy to Cairo the following year.

Egyptian authorities initially suggested Regeni died in a traffic accident, but later said he was killed by a criminal gang that was subsequently wiped out in a shootout with police.

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