Sunday 25 March 2018

Slain Italian student suffered 'animal-like violence'

Murdered: Giulio Regeni
Murdered: Giulio Regeni

Andrea Vogt

An Italian PhD student killed in Cairo was tortured for several days before dying from a broken neck, according to a post-mortem.

Rome prosecutors have opened a murder investigation into the death of Giulio Regeni, a student at Cambridge University, whose battered corpse was found outside Cairo nine days after he was reported missing.

As new, disturbing details of Mr Regeni's last days in Egypt emerge, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Mr Regeni suffered "something inhuman, animal-like, an unacceptable violence".

Mr Regeni's parents arrived in Rome on Saturday with their son's body, which underwent a second autopsy in Rome following the one performed in Cairo.

According to the Italian news agency ANSA, coroners are still trying to establish whether the fatal neck injury was due to a severe blow or contortion.

Mr Regeni's body had more than two dozen broken bones, as well as bruises and burn marks.

"There is no doubt that the young man was heavily beaten and tortured," said Maurizio Massari, Italy's ambassador to Cairo.

A funeral is planned for early next week in the 28-year-old's native Italian region of Friuli.

He had been living in Cairo to do research as a candidate for a Cambridge University doctorate when he disappeared on January 25, the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, a day when security forces were heavily patrolling the streets and squares.

"It happened to Giulio, but it could have been me or my friends who have been to Egypt frequently," said Alessandro Columbu, an Italian doctoral student who teaches Arabic at the University of Edinburgh.

Mr Columbu, who studied with Mr Regeni in Damascus, said he was concerned there could be a cover-up.

Italian authorities strongly suspect Egyptian security forces interrogated Mr Regeni to learn his research into workers' rights - and tortured and killed him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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