Egyptian officials released conflicting reports as to the cause of Italian PhD candidate Giulio Regeni’s death on Thursday, after he went missing in Cairo on the fifth anniverary of the January 25 revolution.
Prosecutor Ahmed Nagi, who is heading the investigation into the case, explained to AP that Regeni’s “burned body” was found by the side of a road on the outskirts of Cairo, in the Giza suburb of 6th of October City on Wednesday. “Signs of torture,” including cigarette burns, bruises, cuts and multiple stab wounds were found on his body, which was discovered along the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road and was positively identified by Regeni’s roommate, according to Nagi.
Officials from the Interior Ministry’s Giza Security Directorate gave different accounts of the possible reasons for Regeni’s death. Head of the Giza Investigations Department General Khaled Shalaby told the privately owned Youm 7 newspaper that Regeni died in a road accident, and that there were no signs of torture or foul play on his body.
Giza Security Directorate head General Ahmed Hegazy told the same news outlet that it is too early to determine the exact cause of death, adding that the ministry will explain the circumstances of the fatal incident after the prosecution’s investigation is complete.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel Karim was not available to comment to Mada Masr on these reports.
The Italian Foreign Ministry asked Egypt for “maximum commitment” to its investigation into Regeni’s death, French news agency Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday, along with a joint inquiry in cooperation with Italian experts.
The ministry has summoned the Egyptian ambassador over the issue and requested that the body be returned to Italy as soon as possible, AP added.
The student’s family reportedly travelled from their hometown of Fiumicello, in northeastern Italy, to Cairo on Wednesday, where they awaited further details of Regeni’s fate.
Earlier this week, the Italian Foreign Ministry issued a statement mentioning that the Cambridge University student had “mysteriously disappeared on the evening of January 25 in the center of the Egyptian capital.”
Online campaigns spearheading the search for Regeni indicated that he was last seen on January 25, headed from Behooth Metro Station in the Giza neighborhood of Dokki toward the Bab al-Louq district of Cairo to meet a friend.
January 25 marked the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, but unlike previous anniversaries, the day went by quietly, largely due to a heavy security presence across the country. Media reports claimed that at least 150 opposition protesters were arrested.