Italian prosecutors investigating the death of a PhD student in Egypt in 2016 say Egyptian authorities made deliberate attempts to obscure how he died.
Giulio Regeni, a postgraduate student at the University of Cambridge, disappeared while on a research trip in Cairo on 25 January 2016 and his body was found dead in a ditch by the side of the road nine days later.
His disappearance came on the fifth anniversary of Egypt's Arab Spring uprising against then-President Hosni Mubarak.
Speaking on the first session of a parliamentary commission to investigate Regeni’s death, Sergio Colaiocco said after his death Egyptian authorities tried to cover up how he died by first making it look like he may have died in a traffic accident.
But he said an autopsy by Italian authorities after his body was repatriated to Italy showed the 28-year-old had been tortured over multiple days before he died around 1 February of a broken neck.
He said: "The examination carried out in Italy showed that the torture took place on several occasions, between January 25 and January 31. Forensic doctors found various fractures and injuries compatible with blows with kicks, fists, sticks and clubs”.
The Egyptian authorities have denied any involvement in the death of Regeni, who was in the country researching trade unions, despite demands from the Italian authorities to investigate the evidence it has gathered.
Last year, the lawyer for the Regeni family named five secret service members and police investigators whom Rome prosecutors have identified as suspects in the abduction.
Attorney Alessandra Ballerini said “These people should be afraid” to travel and added that as many as 20-40 people were actually involved in the case.
“They should have the prudence to know that it’s in their interest to speak up first and not last,'' she added as she urged them to come forward with information.