Italy has recalled Friday its ambassador to Egypt, Maurizio Massari, for consultations after a briefing in Rome by Egyptian investigators failed to satisfy their Italian counterparts.
They have openly ridiculed different and contradictory theories put forward by Egypt as to how Regeni was killed – which have included a road accident, a personal settling of scores, and a claim that a criminal gang targeting foreigners killed the 28-year-old.
Regeni went missing after going to visit a friend. His body was found in a ditch in a Cairo suburb a week later. A subsequent autopsy revealed that he had been severely tortured. His mother barely recognised him.
Many in Italy including human rights groups believe the Egyptian security services murdered the Cambridge University PhD student because of his research into trade unions and workers’ rights in Egypt – an allegation Cairo has repeatedly denied.
The case has prompted protests in Italy amid mounting scepticism over Egyptian theories as to what happened.
Italian prosecutors say Cairo has failed to provide any new information and don’t believe there is any evidence linking the murder to a criminal gang.
But Italy’s room for manoeuvre may be limited: it needs Egypt’s cooperation in trying to stabilise neighbouring Libya, where chaos threatens Europe.