Italian interior minister: Student Giulio Regeni was subjected to ‘animal-like’ violence

Italian PhD candidate, Giulio Regeni, who was found dead in Egypt last week, suffered “inhumane” and “animal-like” violence, according to Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

In an interview on Sky TG24 news channel, Alfano said the results of a second autopsy on Regeni were like a “punch in the stomach,” and he hasn’t caught his breath since. The violence Regeni was subjected to is “unacceptable,” Alfano added.

According to the Associated Press, the second autopsy, which was conducted late on Saturday in Rome after Regeni’s body was flown to Italy, concluded that he died after a cervical vertebra was broken, citing Alessandra Ballerini, a human rights lawyer appointed by the young researcher’s family to follow developments in the case.

Italian authorities strongly suspect Egyptian security forces interrogated Regeni to learn about the contacts he made with workers and activists as part of his research, according to the Associated Press, who cited Italian news outlets.

Regeni’s body was found by the side of a road on the outskirts of Cairo, in the Giza suburb of 6th of October City last Wednesday. His body showed signs of torture, including cigarette burns, bruises, cuts and multiple stab wounds.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is coordinating efforts with Italy to uncover the reasons behind Regeni’s death.

Early last week, the Italian Foreign Ministry issued a statement announcing that the Cambridge University student had “mysteriously disappeared on the evening of January 25 in the center of the Egyptian capital.” 

Regeni 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 former President 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.