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Egypt arrests lawyer linked to slain Italian student

Egypt arrests lawyer linked to slain Italian student”

Egyptian prosecutors on Wednesday ordered the detention for 15 days of a lawyer who assisted the family of an Italian graduate student who was killed under suspicious circumstances during a police crackdown in Cairo.

Egypt has faced accusations that one of its security services murdered the student who was researching trade unions - a sensitive topic in the country - but Cairo denied any such involvement.

Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was detained at Cairo International airport three days ago as he was due to board a flight for Geneva - the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders said - where he was due to attend a United Nations meeting on enforced disappearances in Egypt.

In August, Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano told his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry that his country was willing to send Ambassador Cantini who was recalled in April previous year after the death of Regeni in Cairo.

Cantini succeeds Maurizio Massari, the Italian ambassador who was recalled from Egypt a year ago amid a fierce diplomatic row caused by the death in Cairo of an Italian graduate student.

His arrest comes as a new Italian ambassador is expected to return to Egypt this month, after Italy made a decision to end the 16-month diplomatic freeze.

Frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation, Italy recalled its ambassador from Egypt in protest, but recently announced that a new envoy would take up the post following some improvements in the handling of the case. Metwally represented the Regeni family in the case which led to diplomatic tension between Cairo and Rome.



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