Reuters Facing Criminal Complaint from Egypt Official Over Its Report on The Death of Italian Researcher
Apr 25, 2016 08:16 AM EDT
UK news agency Reuters is faced with a criminal complaint filed by an Egyptian police official. The complaint is based on Reuters' exclusive report released last week claiming that an Italian researcher, who was tortured and murdered in Cairo, was detained by Egyptian police officers on the night he disappeared.
The article stated that the police officer detained Giulio Regeni a few days before his body was found on the outskirts of Cairo. The report released by Reuters claims that the body showed signs of torture, citing forensic and prosecution officials in Egypt. The news agency also cited anonymous Egyptian intelligence officials and police sources that told them the police had custody of the Italian nationality at some point before he died.
Egyptian officials have already denied any involvement in Regeni's death. Investigations by local police officers suggested that he was killed by a criminal gang impersonating police officers. Before that, the police claimed soon after his body was found that he was a victim of a car accident.
The head of Azbakiya police station had then filed a police report against the news agency. The police station is where Reuters reported that Regeni was taken before he died. According to The Guardian, the complaint named the Cairo bureau chief Michael Georgy, blaming him for publishing the story. The complaint also accused the agency of publishing "false news aimed at disturbing public order" and "spreading rumors to harm Egypt's reputation."
The country's interior ministry, which is in charge of the police department, has responded to the complaint filed on Friday by the police official. The ministry condemned Reuters' use of anonymous sources in the article to substantiate its report. The ministry has claimed that it reserves the right to take legal action against "promoters of these rumors and false news."
The New York Times reported Regeni, 28, disappeared in Cairo on January 25. At that time, the capital city was shrouded by security officials trying to prevent protest movements, as it was the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. Regeni's body was then found on the outskirts of Cairo on February 3, showing injuries of cigarette burns and beatings. Ever since the body was discovered, Egypt officials have strongly denied involvement in Regeni's death.
An Egyptian police official filed a criminal complaint on Reuters over its exclusive report that claims Egyptian police officer had custody of Regeni on the night he disappeared. The news agency cited unnamed sources of intelligence and police officials in the report. As for now, prosecutors are looking into the complaints.