It is nearly a year since Giulio Regeni went missing in Cairo

The UK has given permission to Italian investigators to question Dr Maha Abdelrahman over the murder of PhD student Giulio Regeni in February 2016.

Dr Abdelrahman, an expert on Egyptian protest movements, was Regeni’s supervisor at Cambridge while he was researching independent trade unions in Egypt. She will be questioned about the murder next month, according to prosecutors quoted by Ansa News Agency.

On Wednesday, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson met with Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano, who later confirmed that “the British judge has accepted the European investigation warrant and therefore the Cambridge tutor can be questioned”, according to the BBC. He said it was a “significant advance” in the investigation.

Last Sunday, 344 academics signed an open letter supporting Dr. Abdelrahman, published in The Guardian. In it, they wrote that they “reject the malicious and unfounded allegations made against Dr Maha Abdelrahman in Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper on 2 November 2017”, and that “Giulio nor Dr Abdelrahman were responsible for his death in any way.”

The article in La Repubblica to which they were responding suggested that Dr. Abdelrahman was being uncooperative with the investigation, and alleged that she encouraged Regeni to follow a topic which she knew was dangerous.

Regeni was a PhD student at Girton College, who travelled to Egypt in January 2016. His tortured body was found dumped on the outskirts of Cairo in the following month, after he had been missing for several days. Egypt has denied that he died in custody, although have admitted that his activities were under investigation

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