Who Tortured Giulio Regeni to Death? And Why?

“On 7 January 2016, just a month after the union meeting, Mohamed Abdallah denounced Regeni to the authorities (…) because his questions were not about street vendors … and had other intentions. The Egyptian government placed Regeni under investigation, but decided after a few days that his research was of no interest to National Security”.

The Guardian

giulio-regeni

Giulio Regeni

The death of this young man shocked and outraged Italians. Giulio Regeni was an Italian student who went missing in Cairo after speaking to trade union and opposition activists. His mutilated body was later found on the side of the road. He appeared to have been horribly tortured. Why was he murdered? Why a botched investigation? Was he a spy? For whom? Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

Giulio Regeni (15 January 1988 – 1st or 2nd February 2016) was an Italian Cambridge University graduate who was abducted and tortured to death in Egypt. Regeni was a PhD student at Girton College, Cambridge, researching Egypt’s independent trade unions.

Previously, Regeni had been an employee of the international consulting firm ‘Oxford Analytica’.

Regeni’s mutilated and half-naked corpse was found in a ditch alongside the Cairo-Alexandria highway on the outskirts of Cairo on February 3, 2016.

His recovered body showed signs of extreme torture: contusions and abrasions all over from a severe beating; extensive bruising from kicks, punches, and assault with a stick; more than two dozen bone fractures, among them seven broken ribs, all fingers and toes, as well as legs, arms, and shoulder blades; multiple stab wounds on the body including the soles of the feet, possibly from an ice pick or awl-like instrument; numerous cuts over the entire body made with a sharp instrument suspected to be a razor; extensive cigarette burns; a larger burn mark between the shoulder blades made with a hard and hot object; a brain hemorrhage; and a broken cervical vertebra, which ultimately caused death.

Official Investigation or Cover-Up?

Egyptian officials have been  floating various theories in the media: Regeni was gay and the victim of a crime of passion, he was involved in a drug deal gone bad, or else he was a foreign spy.

Forensic Sciences

It is almost certain that Regeni was tortured by ‘professionals’ over a period of many days. Although he disappeared on January 25th, Regeni was still alive on February 1st and some of his earliest wounds had begun to heal. Some of the tortures he endured  are said to be reguraly used by the Egyptian police.

The forensic doctors at the University of Rome used a highly accurate technique for determining time of death, which measures potassium levels in the vitreous fluid of the eyes. They established that Regeni died between 10pm on 1 February and 10pm on 2 February.

“This is important because it means that he was alive for at least six or seven days and tortured repeatedly during that time.”

Detailed analysis in Italy showed that he had been hit repeatedly on the head, but that these blows were not fatal. Blood had coagulated around the points where he had been hit, and other cuts, bruises and abrasions on his body showed different stages of healing.

This indicated that Regeni had been tortured more than once – and that days had passed between his initial torture, later sessions, and the moment of his death. He was covered with cuts and burns, and his hands and feet had been broken. Even his teeth were broken.

His torturers appear to have carved letters into his flesh, a well-documented practice of the Egyptian police.

This horrific story should not fade away. Whether or not Regeni was a spy — his friends and relatives do not believe it — we do not know. But his horrific death demands an explanation.  Stay tuned.

Is Egypt covering up the murder of an Italian student?

REFERENCES

Who murdered Giulio Regeni? — The Guardian

Murder of Giulio Regeni — Wikipedia

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