The Egyptian authorities have launched an investigation after discovering the remains of the missing Italian student on the outskirts of Cairo. The body of the 28-year old reportedly showed signs of torture.
The dead body was positively identified as missing Cambridge student Giulio Regeni, despite being partially burned, a source told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
Regeni went missing on January 25, on the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising which ousted the strongman Hosni Mubarak. He had traveled to Egypt to do research for his doctor thesis.
Police were out in force on the streets of the capital during the anniversary, and the authorities have warned people not to demonstrate.
The 2011 rebellion brought the Islamist Mohammed Morsi to power, who was in turn ousted by the army, led by the current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Dozens of young people have disappeared since the 2013 coup.
Accident or foul play?
Regeni's body was dumped on the side of the road in western Cairo, officials said.
The remains showed signs of torture, burn marks, cuts and stabs on his face ans shoulders, according to a Reuters report citing unamed security officials and sources from the prosecutor's office.
An Egyptian security source said that the Interior Ministry would not comment on the case until the investigation is complete.
However, deputy head of criminal investigations in Cairo's twin province of Giza, Alaa Azmi, said that the initial findings indicated a road accident, with no reference to burns.
"We have to wait for the full report by forensic experts. But what we know is that it is an accident," Azmi said.
Pressure from Rome
Italy summoned the Egyptian ambassador to express concern over the incident.
Late on Wednesday, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Rome "had learned of the probable tragic end to this affair," adding that Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni expressed his condolences to Regeni's family.
"The Italian government has asked the Egyptian authorities to make their utmost effort to verify the truth and reconstruct the circumstances and also immediately open a joint investigation with the participation of Italian experts," the Foreign Ministry said.
The incident also cut short an official visit by the Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi, who left Egypt early on Thursday morning.
Before her departure, Guidi reportedly urged the Egyptian President el-Sissi to personally intervene in order to speed up the investigation.
dj/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)