An Italian student has been found dead in Egypt, and signs are pointing to evidence of torture. Giulio Regeni, a student at Cambridge University, had been missing in Cairo since late last month. News broke on Thursday that his body had been found and Italians are enraged over the tragedy.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Regeni’s body was found with multiple signs of torture, including stab wounds and cigarette burns. The official cause of death remains unknown. His body was found along the side of a highway just outside the Egyptian capital of Cairo. He had been missing since January 25. The Cambridge graduate student was in Egypt conducting research for his thesis. He disappeared after leaving the home where he was staying to meet a friend downtown. His body was found by residents of Cairo’s Hazem Hassan neighborhood.
We’re deeply saddened to hear of the death of Giulio Regeni. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) February 4, 2016
The Egyptian Prosecutor assigned to investigate the case, Ahmed Nagi, said, “The cause of death was still being investigated, but all of his body, including his face, had bruises, cuts from stabbings and burns from cigarettes. It appears to be a ‘slow death’. So far we are considering this to be a criminal act, but we are waiting for the forensic report and the police investigation to be complete… Initial inspection of the body indicates that (this) was no accident. We suspect it’s a criminal act.”
January 25, the day Regeni went missing, was also the five-year anniversary of an uprising that took down former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. Authorities were already on high alert during this time due to demonstrations occurring throughout Egypt.
The Italian student’s death also comes at a time when the Egyptian police and media have been accused of depicting foreigners in a negative light and accusing foreigns of plotting against Egypt. Many human rights groups have even gone so far as to accuse police of being behind the disappearances of Egyptian activists.
News of Regeni’s death has shaken the Cambridge University community, as well as the country of Italy. Italian authorities have since demanded that Egyptian police launch a joint investigation into the student’s death.
The Local it reported that Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke about the discovery of the student’s body.
“…we want the truth to come out, every last bit of it. We owe that much to a family that has been stricken in an irreparable way and, at the very least, has the right to know the truth.”
Until now, Italy and Egypt have retained a long-standing close trading relationship, and Italy is one of Egypt’s most important trading partners in Europe. News of the Italian student’s murder threatens to take a toll on foreign relations between the two countries if Egypt fails to investigate the death properly.
As Italians are urging Egypt to investigate the murder, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed his sincere condolences to the Italian Prime Minister during a phone conversation.
According to CNN, El-Sisi vowed that Egypt will dedicate the utmost attention to investigating the Italian student’s death and will follow up on the circumstances surrounding the murder.
Many hope that the individual or individuals responsible for taking Regeni’s life will be found and apprehended. In the meantime, we express our sincere condolences to Giulio Regeni’s friends and family, as well as Cambridge University.
[Photo by Ed Giles/Getty Images]