1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Egypt denies responsibility for brutal murder

February 8, 2016

There is growing outrage in Italy as gruesome details of the savage killing of a doctoral student in Egypt emerge. Guilio Regeni disappeared on January 25, the fifth anniversary of Egypt's short-lived democracy movement.

Italien Maurizio Massari Botschafter in Ägypten
Italian ambassador to Egypt, Maurizio Massari (C) arrives at a morgue, to see the body of Italian student Giulio RegeniImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Hossam

Under increasing pressure to find out who tortured and murdered an Italian doctoral student in Egypt last week, The Egyptian government denied responsibility for the gruesome killing.

Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar rejected media reports on Monday that the state's security forces were behind the killing.

"There are many rumors repeated on pages of newspapers insinuating the security forces might be behind the accident," he told a news conference. "This is unacceptable. This is not our policy."

Italy is keeping up pressure on Egyptian authorities to find those responsible for the gruesome murder of the 28-year-old Cambridge scholar, insisting convenient "truths" are unacceptable.

"We won't settle for purported truths, as we have said on the occasion of the two arrests initially linked to the death of Giulio Regeni," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni insisted in an interview published in La Repubblica newspaper. "We want those who are really responsible to be found out, and be punished on the basis of law."

The foreign minister was referring to claims last week by Egyptian authorities, later denied, that two suspects had been brought in for questioning.

Italien vermisster Student Giulio Regeni in Ägypten
Regeni was brutally tortured and murderedImage: picture alliance/ROPI

Outrage over Regeni's death - who disappeared on January 25, the fifth anniversary of Egypt's short-lived democracy movement - has been growing in Italy. It was initially fueled by Egypt's original claim that he appeared to have died in a road accident, but was fueled further by the aforementioned claim of arrests and then the gruesome details of a second autopsy performed in Italy.

"Death squad" killers

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that the nails on all of Regeni's toes and fingers had been torn off, and that all his fingers had been broken. The daily said the pattern of torture suggested that Regeni's "death squad" killers believed he was a spy. The gruesome details include unconfirmed reports that his neck was broken.

Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano called the Italian autopsy results shocking.

Ägypten Innenminister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar
Ghaffar denied the government was behind murderImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/H. Ammar

It "confronted us with something inhuman, something animal," Alfano told Sky News 24 television on Sunday. "It was like a punch in the stomach and we haven't quite got our breath back yet."

For now, Foreign Minister Gentiloni said Egypt appeared to be cooperating with Italian detectives and forensic investigators sent to Cairo to investigate.

Back in Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under growing pressure to give Regeni a state funeral this week.

Alfano said he supported the idea.

"There is a protocol to be respected and the President of the Council of Ministers (Renzi) decides," Alfano said, "but… this is about the death of a young man who honored all of Italy and the idea of a state funeral should be taken very seriously."

bik/jil (Reuters, AP, AFP)