Cambridge professor from Egypt to be questioned by authorities investigating the death of Phd student Giulio Regeni

Giulio Regeni seen here on a posted held by an Egyptian activist. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018

Cambridge professor from Egypt to be questioned by authorities investigating the death of Phd student Giulio Regeni

DUBAI: Italian authorities this month will begin questioning the Egyptian tutor of the Cambridge student Giulio Regeni, who was murdered in Cairo in 2016.

A British judge gave the green light to Italian interrogators to interview Professor Maha Mahfouz Abdelrahman, after she agreed to be questioned, according to British daily The Guardian.

The decision was announced last month after Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano met with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Regeni, 28, was carrying out research on Egypt’s independent trade unions as part of his PhD at Girton College when he disappeared on Jan. 25, 2016.

His tortured body was found on a main road outside Cairo two weeks later. Suspicions were raised that he had been kidnapped and killed by the Egyptian security forces.

Italian magistrates investigating the case previously complained of limited cooperation from Egyptian authorities and Abdelrahman, who previously lived in Egypt, before moving to the UK to lecture in Cambridge at the department of politics and international relations.

Computer records submitted to the courts and leaked by the Italian daily La Repubblica revealed that Regeni might have felt pressured by his research.

In a Skype chat Regeni told his mother in October 2015 he was “going deeper into the subject” because it was uncharted territory and “because Maha insisted.”

Investigators want to question Abdelrahman about who chose the research topic and who chose the questions Regeni put to traders shortly before he disappeared, 18 days after having been filmed and photographed by a trade union official who was also reportedly a security service informer.


US accuses Turkey of war crimes in Syria

Updated 5 min 55 sec ago

US accuses Turkey of war crimes in Syria

  • Trump’s envoy demands explanation from Ankara of possible use of illegal white phosphorus munitions during the Turkish invasion
  • Envoy also expresses concerns about anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkish forces.

JEDDAH: The US demanded an explanation from Ankara on Wednesday for what it described as “war crimes” committed during Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria.

President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said there were concerns about anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkish forces.

“Many people fled because they’re very concerned about these Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces, as we are. We’ve seen several incidents which we consider war crimes,” the envoy told a House of Representatives hearing.

He said the US was also investigating the possible use of illegal white phosphorus munitions during the Turkish invasion, and wanted an explanation from Turkey’s government “at a high level.”

Jeffrey described Turkey’s invasion to drive Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters out of the border area as “a tragic disaster for northeast Syria.”

Meanwhile Russian military police began patrols on the Syrian border on Wednesday, following an agreement on Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Kremlin told Kurdish fighters to pull back or face being attacked again by Turkish forces.

“It’s quite obvious that if the Kurdish units don’t withdraw with their weapons then Syrian border guards and Russian military police will have to step back. And the remaining Kurdish units will be steamrolled by the Turkish army,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In Washington, Trump said a US-negotiated cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurds would be permanent, and he lifted US sanctions on Ankara. “We’ve saved the lives of many, many Kurds,” he said.

Turkey considers the YPG terrorists because of their links to PKK insurgents in Turkey. It has demanded they retreat from the entire border region, creating a 30-km-deep “safe zone” where Turkey could also settle some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees on its soil.

The new agreement allows Turkey to control that area. On Wednesday, Turkish-backed Syrian fighters in Ras Al-Ain unfurled their flag on top of the Kurdish fighters’ former HQ.