ROME (AP) — Prosecutors in Rome on Tuesday formally opened an investigation into five Egyptian domestic secret service members and police investigators in connection with the 2016 torture and murder of an Italian researcher.

The five were being investigating on possible abduction charges related to the murder in January 2016 of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni, who was abducted and tortured for several days before his body was left on a desert highway north of Cairo. Prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco said the suspects are believed to have been active participants in Regeni’s abduction.

The launch of the investigation was likely to raise tensions with Egypt, which has already bristled at moves by Italy’s lower house to cut off parliamentary relations over the case. There was no immediate reaction from Cairo, but Egyptian prosecutors have reportedly rejected an Italian request to treat as suspects several policemen involved in the surveillance of Regeni for his work studying trade unions.

Regeni, a Cambridge University graduate, disappeared in Cairo on January 25, 2016 — His body was found several days later by the side of a highway near Cairo with torture marks that activists and rights groups say resembled the results of widespread torture practices in Egyptian detention facilities.

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