Italy has placed under investigation five Egyptian secret service and police officials for their alleged involvement in the torture and murder of Cambridge University graduate Giulio Regeni.
Mr Regeni, who was studying for a PhD at Girton College, was researching Egyptian trade unions for his doctoral thesis when he disappeared in 2016.
The 28-year-old Italian’s battered body was found a week later on a highway outside Cairo, with a post-mortem showing he had been tortured to death.
His mother said his body was so badly disfigured that she recognised only his nose.
The Italian authorities have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the Egyptians, who initially claimed the graduate had died in a traffic incident or that he had been the victim of a violent abduction.
They then said he had been killed by a gang of criminals who were later shot dead during a gun fight with police. Rome gave little credence to the account.
Italian and Egyptian officials have held a series of meetings in Cairo and Rome, with the Egyptians denying any involvement in his murder.
The suspects, a general, two colonels and a major from Egypt’s National Security Agency, are under investigation for allegedly placing Mr Regeni under surveillance and then kidnapping him.
They have not been charged with any crime.
They were named by the Italian media as General Sabir Tareq, Colonel Ather Kamal, Major Magdi Abdlaal Sharif, Captain Osan Helmy and his aide Mahmoud Najem.
Cairo said on Monday that there was no evidence to consider the five officials suspects in the murder.
The Egyptian authorities have admitted that Mr Regeni was placed under surveillance because of what was regarded as the sensitive nature of his trade union research.
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While the graduate’s death was met with outrage by many Italians, realpolitik necessitates close ties between the two countries.
Areas of cooperation including halting illegal migration across the Mediterranean and trying to restore stability to Libya, which has been wracked with violence since the ousting of Muammar Gadaffi in 2011.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister and deputy prime minister, said Italy was determined to identify Mr Regeni’s killers.
“We’ve been waiting for three years. I want to maintain good relations with Egypt and I’ll do everything to have good economic, cultural, trade and social relations with a friendly country. But as an Italian, I expect the names and surnames of the culprits,” Mr Salvini said.