Egypt: FM urges “transparent and impartial” investigation into death of Egyptian national in London

Published April 27th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
A file photo of Big Ben in London. (AFP/File)
A file photo of Big Ben in London. (AFP/File)

Egypt's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that it expects "an urgent, transparent and impartial investigation" into the death of an Egyptian who was found burned to death in London.

Sharif Adel Mikhail, 21, died on Monday in a fire that broke out in a building in the district of Southall in London, state-run news agency MENA reported on Tuesday citing British police.

After he was found suffering burn injuries in a burned car in a garage, he was transferred to a hospital in Sussex where he was declared dead.

The Egyptian foreign ministry "is following with great concern" the death of Mikhail, the ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri instructed the Egyptian consulate in London to contact British authorities to express Egypt's expectation that "those responsible" will be held accountable "in the fastest time possible," the ministry added.

The ministry also called on the British Embassy in Egypt "not allow bureaucratic issues to deprive the family of the deceased from the support they urgently require in these difficult times" by facilitating the travel of the victim's family members to London "to stand in solidarity with the parents."

On its part, the British embassy in Cairo said on Wednesday that it is "working with the Egyptian government in London and Cairo."

"The Metropolitan Police are now working quickly to determine the circumstances of this man's death," the embassy added in a statement.

The British government "will be in close contact" with the Egyptian foreign ministry and the Egyptian consulate in London today "to receive and respond to any specific requests from the Egyptian authorities and the family."

On Tuesday, the Egyptian presidency expressed "deep sorry and profound grief" over Mikhail's death and offered condolences to his family.

"The Egyptian presidency urges concerned British authorities to exert due diligence and intensify its investigation and effort to unravel the mystery of this incident and uncover its causes," the presidency said in a statement on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's official Facebook page.

Egypt is still dealing with the aftermath of the death of an Italian student whose body was found, with signs of torture and bruises, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo in February.

Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Ph.D. researcher, went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2015, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

A number of media reports accused Egyptian security forces of torturing the Italian student to death, which the Egyptian interior ministry has denied.

The once-solid Italian-Egyptian relations were strained over Regeni's murder. On Apr. 8, Italy recalled its Cairo ambassador to Rome for consultations following a meeting between Egyptian and Italian investigators in Rome to discuss the case. The Egyptian delegation was expected to present the latest findings on the case but the results do not seem to have satisfied Italy.

While Sisi vowed to pursue Regeni's murderers in an interview with Italy's La Repubblica newspaper in March, he also called on Rome to uncover the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of an Egyptian national in Italy in October.


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