The body of a missing Italian student was found with signs of torture on his body, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student , went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
His body was found Wednesday along the Cairo-Alexandria Road in the 6th of October suburb in western Cairo and was positively identified by his roommate, said the prosecutor, Ahmed Nagi, who leads the investigation team on the case.
Nagi said the cause of death was still under investigation but said “all of his body, including his face” had bruises, cuts from stabbings and burns from cigarettes. He said it appeared to have been a “slow death.”
Another person with knowledge of the case told the AP that the body was “partially burned” and also said the body was found on that highway. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.
Italy’s Foreign Ministry said it has urgently summoned the Egyptian ambassador over the death of an Italian student on the outskirts of Cairo, seeking maximum cooperation in the investigation. The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Italy renewed its request to launch an immediate investigation and include Italian experts. The statement also requested that the body be returned to Italy as soon as possible.
An initial investigation showed it was a road accident, he said, adding that the preliminary forensic report hadn’t mentioned any burns.
“We have to wait for the full report by forensic experts. But what we know is that it is an accident,” Azmi said.
The University of Cambridge lists Regeni as a student of its Department of Politics and International Studies. Regeni’s body was found following an online campaign searching for him after he went missing.
The Egyptian authorities had intensified a crackdown on dissent ahead of the Jan. 25 anniversary, with police raiding apartments in downtown Cairo seeking signs of plans for organized protests and checking people’s social media accounts.