Egypt returns body of slain Italian student Giulio Regeni
CAIRO - The body of an Italian student who was found dead by a roadside in Cairo has been returned to Rome, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported on Saturday quoting Egyptian officials at Cairo airport.
Giulio Regeni was found dead on Wednesday having gone missing on January 25. The 28-year-old graduate student's body found half naked by the roadside with cigarette burns and other signs of torture, a senior Egyptian prosecutor said.
Regeni, who disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, was a Cambridge University doctoral student. His body was found at the start of the main road between Cairo and Alexandria.
Friends, family and diplomats held a memorial ceremony Friday at a Cairo church for Regeni.
Regeni's parents, who came to Egypt to search for him, and his friends attended the memorial held Friday inside an Italian church, which was heavily guarded by security forces, with plainclothes intelligence officers and police patrolling the area.
The priest presiding over the service emphasised that Regeni had been "seeking truth."
Regeni had been in Egypt since September conducting research on workers and labor rights — a sensitive topic, since disgruntled workers were among the forces in the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising and authorities still worry about worker discontent.
He also wrote several articles under a pseudonym about labor issues in Egypt for the left-wing Italian newspaper Il Manifesto. After his death, the paper ran his last piece under his name, detailing difficulties facing independent labor unions, including the Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services.
The center's general coordinator Kamal Abbas said that he met with Regeni twice — most recently in December — to talk about unions' role in advocating workers' rights.
"I remember him as a very decent and very shy bright man," Abbas said. "He was very interested in researching workers' role in the uprising."
"What happened is very worrying," he said.