Cairo source: Italian killed in extreme torture

Egypt keeps report under wraps, but source reveals student took severe abuse including having sexual organ electrocuted. Did police do it?

Ari Yashar,

The morgue where Regeni's body was taken
The morgue where Regeni's body was taken

A senior source at the Egyptian forensics authority on Saturday revealed that 28-year-old Giulio Regeni, an Italian student found dead in Cairo last week, was tortured to death in a highly unusual and disturbing manner.

The forensics authority on Saturday delivered its final autopsy report to the prosecutor general's office, which refused to publish the report citing the ongoing investigation into Regeni's violent death.

However, the forensics source revealed to Reuters that Regeni's body bore signs of intense violence and torture. He had seven broken ribs, signs of electrocution on his sexual organs, traumatic injuries covering his body, and a brain hemorrhage.

His body also had cuts from a sharp instrument thought to be a razor, in addition to abrasions and bruises. It is thought he was beaten with a stick, punched and kicked.

An initial autopsy report in Egypt showed Regeni was hit on the back of the head with some sort of sharp instrument.

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, where he was pursuing a doctoral thesis on the Egyptian economy.

While researching independent Egyptian trade unions he had written articles that were critical of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government, leading to concerns he may have been murdered by Egyptian security forces.

Regeni was first reported missing on January 25. Adding to the speculation is that fact that there was a heavy police presence in Cairo the day Regeni went missing because it was the fifth anniversary of the start of the "Arab Spring" uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

"Something inhuman"

A friend of Regeni's said he had disappeared after leaving his home in Duqqi, an upper middle-class district in Cairo. He had gone to meet a friend near Tahrir Square, the center of the 2011 uprising. 

All this triggered speculation that he may somehow have found himself between protesters and police.

Egypt's interior and foreign ministers have both denied that Regeni was murdered by security forces.

Aside from the Egyptian autopsy, a second autopsy took place in Italy before Regeni's burial last Friday in his hometown.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told Sky News last week that the autopsy "confronted us with something inhuman, something animal."

Following Regeni's funeral, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed that those responsible for the horrific murder will be located and punished. Italian investigators are deployed in Egypt, where they are working with local authorities on the case.

According to human rights groups, Egyptian police commonly detain Egyptians despite a lack of evidence, and the detainees are frequently beaten or coerced into making confessions. Egypt has denied the accusations.