In a front-page column, Al-Ahram’s editor-in-chief Mohammed Abdel-Hadi Allam suggested that Cambridge student Giulio Regeni’s killing might have the same impact in Egypt as the 2010 beating to death by police of an Egyptian youth in the coastal city of Alexandria.
The brutal death of Khaled Said helped ignite a popular 18-day uprising that began on January 25 2011 and toppled the 29-year regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
“The Khaled Said case, despite its circumstances, did not go away like some thought at the time,” he warned.
“The naive stories about Regeni’s death have hurt Egypt at home and abroad and offered some a justification to judge what is going on in the country now to be no different from what went on before the January 25 revolution.”
Last month, Egyptian authorities implied that Mr Regeni had been killed by a criminal gang specialising in kidnapping foreigners. Authorities said all members of the gang had been killed in a shoot-out .
The announcement was immediately rejected by Italian media and by Mr Regeni’s family, who have publicly stated a belief that Mr Regeni was killed by Egyptian security forces.
Premier Matteo Renzi has insisted Italy will settle for nothing less than the truth.
Mr Allam, in his column, said a “moment of truth” between Egypt and Italy over what happened to Mr Regeni may be fast approaching, he said, adding that “futile dealings” and “gross exaggerations” may not be useful.