Italy demands truth from Egypt over Regeni death

Renzi steps up pressure as Italy awaits result of Egyptian report on Regeni case.

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has reiterated his call for Egypt to help uncover the truth surrounding the death of Giulio Regeni, the 28-year-old Italian doctoral student whose tortured body was found in a west Cairo suburb on 3 February, nine days after he disappeared.

Speaking on 21 February, Renzi described Italy and Egypt as friends but stressed: "We demand the truth from our friends." The premier's remarks came as the Italian team of investigators awaits the results of a report into the Regeni case by Egypt's interior ministry.

Renzi was echoing comments he made on 12 February, the day of Regeni's funeral in his hometown of Fiumicello in northeastern Italy, when the premier insisted that Italy's friendship with Egypt could only exist "if the truth emerges" about Regeni's death.

Renzi's latest appeal is seen as putting further pressure on Egypt to bring to justice those responsible for the death of the student who had written articles critical of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government.

Egypt's interior ministry continues to deny persistent media reports suggesting the involvement of its security agencies in the death of Regeni, who had been in Cairo to conduct research for his doctoral thesis on Egyptian labour rights and underground trade unions.

Regeni’s semi-naked, partially-burned body showed “signs of torture” including stab wounds, broken bones, electrocution and a brain haemorrhage, indicating a “slow death”, according to Egyptian prosecutors investigating the case. An autopsy carried out in Italy prior to Regeni's funeral provided results that were “inhuman, animal,” according to the Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano.

The Italian branch of human rights organisation Amnesty International has taken up the case with the Verità per Giulio Regeni campaign, calling for the truth behind the student's death to be "recognised independently”.

The Twitter hashtag #Regeni has also attracted a response from Italians seeking clarity into what many consider the shady circumstances surrounding a brutal death.