Ties with Egypt on the line as Italy buries slain student
Activists and Italian nationals living in Egypt take part in a rally in memory of Italian student Giulio Regeni on February 6, 2016, outside of the Italian embassy in Cairo. (AFP/Mohamed al-Shahed)
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned Egypt on Friday that friendship between the two countries was on the line as Italy prepared to bury Giulio Regeni, a PhD student tortured and killed in Cairo.
Renzi said that so far Egypt was cooperating with Rome's demand to have Italian investigators take part in the inquiry into the death of Regeni, whose body was discovered dumped in a ditch, bearing signs of torture, outside of Cairo on Feb. 3.
"For the moment, all our requests have been met and above all we have demanded that every element should be put on the table in order that the truth can be established and those really responsible can be detained," Renzi told Italian Radio Anch'io.
"I extend my condolences to Giulio's family and I say that we have told the Egyptians: friendship is a precious asset but it is only possible on the basis of truth."
Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge University and visiting scholar at the American University of Cairo, disappeared on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of Egypt's 2011 revolution. Italians have speculated that he was abducted and killed by Egyptian security forces, as there was heavy police presence in Cairo that day. Egyptian authorities have dismissed this allegation.
Nearly 5,000 academics have signed a letter accusing Egypt torturing its own citizens, increased abuses by security forces, and demanding an independent investigation into the student's death.
Regeni is due to be laid to rest in his hometown of Fiumicello, where flags were flown at half-mast in mourning. According to media reports, Regeni's friends from around the world have made the journey to his hometown to honor his memory.