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Heads Roll for Brutal Killing of Italian in Egypt

Almost five years after the mutilated corpse of Giulio Regeni was found on the outskirts of Cairo in February 2016, Italian prosecutors have charged four members of Egypt’s national security agency over his kidnapping and murder. For those working to uncover the truth about how Regeni died and why Egyptian security forces had entrapped the student in a web of surveillance, it was a day heavy with emotion. “It was a long journey, beginning with the day they raided my house and took me to jail,” said Ahmed Abdallah, the head of the board of trustees of the Egyptian Commission for Rights (ECRF) and Freedoms, whose lawyers act as the Regeni family’s Egyptian counsel. Abdallah was arrested on terrorism charges in 2016 and released later that year, part of a pattern of reprisals against the ECRF and its staff that included raiding its offices and further arrests. The move to indict the four men and bring details of their alleged crimes into an open court follows years of Egyptian officials blaming others for Regeni’s disappearance and murder. The trial is expected to lay bare the practices of the Egyptian security apparatus, widely regarded as the backbone of a brutal police state.