Italian student Giulio Regeni found dead in Egypt

This image posted online after the Jan. 25, 2016 disappearance of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo, Egypt shows Reggeni in a graphic used in an online campaign, #whereisgiulio seeking information on his whereabouts. (#wheresgiulio via AP)

This image posted online after the Jan. 25, 2016 disappearance of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo, Egypt shows Reggeni in a graphic used in an online campaign, #whereisgiulio seeking information on his whereabouts. (#wheresgiulio via AP)

Italy’s foreign ministry confirmed the death of missing student Giulio Regeni in Egypt and summoned Cairo’s ambassador to demand maximum cooperation in a probe into what happened.

The body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old who was pursuing a PhD at Cambridge, was found in the suburbs outside Cairo on Wednesday 3rd February night, days after the Italian government announced it was concerned with his disappearance.

The Egyptian prosecutor leading the investigation team on the case said Regeni’s body had been found with marks on it, cuts to the ears and signs of beating, torture, and a “slow death”. A source at the Giza public prosecutor’s office said Regeni’s body was found on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, on an overpass close to Cairo’s 6th October district and that his body appeared to have been dragged along the ground. Responding to earlier reports, the source added that the body did not have any noticeable stab wounds, but that other marks could have been cigarette burns.

According to the Italian foreign ministry and his friends, Giulio Regeni disappeared on Jan. 25 after leaving his home in a Dokki, an upper-middle-class area in Cairo, to meet a friend downtown, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.

Days before his body was discovered, Regeni’s disappearance was widely circulated by many social media users on both Facebook and Twitter questioning his whereabouts with a trending hashtag ‘Where is Giulio Regeni?’

There has been a number of contradicting statements from different officials in the Egyptian government. According to Ahram online, the deputy head of investigations at Giza’s police department told several local media outlets that Regeni’s death might have occurred as a result of a traffic accident, adding that there is no criminal suspicion in the incident. While the initial investigation of the body and its whereabouts shows it’s not a mere accident.

The Italian government has summoned the Egyptian ambassador to demand maximum cooperation in a probe into what happened, as Italy’s foreign ministry issued a statement earlier on Thursday saying that it “expects its own experts to be involved in the investigation.”

The Italian ambassador in Egypt went to Cairo’s Zenhoum morgue on Thursday afternoon where Regeni’s body was identified.

Regeni, a PhD student at the department of politics and international studies at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC). He is reported to have been carrying out research on trade unions and labour rights in Egypt – a sensitive topic in recent years.

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