Egypt detains prominent rights lawyer for 15 days

Murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni

Murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni

Metwally, who founded the Association for the Families of the Disappeared, was also suspected of having set up an "illegal" group, they said.

The Wednesday decision made by the Supreme State Security Prosecution came a day after Metwally was interrogated.

Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was detained at Cairo International airport three days ago as he was due to board a flight for Geneva - the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders said - where he was due to attend a United Nations meeting on enforced disappearances in Egypt.

A lawyer involved in the investigation of an Italian student murdered in Egypt has been arrested by Egyptian authorities as he attempted to leave the country, a rights group said on Tuesday.

His arrest comes as a new Italian ambassador is expected to return to Egypt this month, after Italy chose to end the 16-month diplomatic freeze.

Cantini succeeds Maurizio Massari, the Italian ambassador who was recalled from Egypt past year amid a fierce diplomatic row caused by the death in Cairo of an Italian graduate student. At the time of his death, Regeni was researching trade unions - a sensitive topic in Egypt.

Regeni's family slammed the return of the Italian envoy to Cairo saying it has "the taste of capitulation done up as art".

Rights groups accuse the Egyptian government of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of dissidents which spiked after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his supporters.

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