A preliminary court hearing for the reopening of the Giulio Regeni trial was held in Rome yesterday.

Regeni was an Italian postgraduate student at Cambridge University conducting research in Cairo when he disappeared and was later found dead by the side of the road having been badly tortured.

Italian prosecutors have concluded that Egypt’s national security agency is responsible for his murder after he was reported to them to be a spy by a street trade unionist who Regeni was interviewing as part of his research.

READ: Families of Egypt prisoners complain of ill-treatment by police

Four Egyptian officers have been accused of torturing and murdering Regeni including Tariq Sabir, Athar Ibrahim, Usham Helmi and Magdi Sharif but their trial was suspended in October last year because the judge ruled that there was no certainty that the four had been made formally aware that they had been charged in the 2016 abduction despite the fact that prosecutors urged them to continue the trial in absentia.

They argued that Egyptian authorities had obstructed the trial into Regeni’s death, including preventing Italy from contacting the accused.

Regeni’s family were disappointed when the judge ruled in favour of the men’s defence lawyers who said the proceedings were void without proof the four suspects had been made aware.

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