Middle East

Giulio Regeni: Italian student's family threatens to show body photo

University ID card belonging to murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni Image copyright EPA
Image caption An ID card officials say was found at a flat used by a gang blamed for Mr Regeni's death

The family of Italian student Giulio Regeni has threatened to release a photo of his body if Egypt fails to uncover the truth behind his death.

Mr Regeni's body was found dumped beside a road and he could only be recognised by the tip of his nose, his mother has said.

Egypt has blamed a gang, whose members died in a shootout, for the killing.

But Italian officials have questioned this claim amid suspicion that security forces had involvement in the case.

The 28-year-old Italian, who was a student at Cambridge, had been researching trade unions, a politically sensitive subject in Egypt. His body was found with signs of torture on 3 February, a week after his disappearance in Cairo.

The murder of Giulio Regeni

"I will not tell you what they had done to him," Mr Regeni's mother, Paola, said in the family's first news conference since his death.

"I only recognised him because of the tip of his nose. As for everything else, it was no longer him."

Authorities in Egypt said an alleged criminal gang, specialised in abducting foreigners while posing as policemen, was responsible for the student's killing, and that all its four members were killed in a shootout.

A bag, passport and wallet belonging to Mr Regeni were found in a flat linked to the group, the police said.

The family, however, has rejected this claim, calling it earlier an "outrageous set-up".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Giulio Regeni's mother has rejected Egypt's version of the events as a "set-up"

Human rights groups and opposition figures have speculated that Mr Regeni was killed by members of the Egyptian security forces, claims officials in Egypt have strongly denied.

Italian authorities have also long complained about a lack of transparency from Cairo in the investigation, and Egyptian officials are expected to hand over key evidence to their Italian counterparts on 5 April.

"If 5 April proves to be a wash-out, we expect a strong response from our government, a really strong one," Mr Regeni's mother said, threatening to show a picture of her son's tortured body.

"On Giulio's face I saw all the ills of the world. We have not faced such torture since the anti-Fascist era."

Image copyright AP
Image caption This poster was put online in the days after Giulio went missing

Mr Regeni was a PhD student at the department of politics and international studies at the University of Cambridge, and a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

The family lawyer, Alessandra Ballerini, said they expect officials to show missing evidence such as phone records, security footage from near the metro where he disappeared and the area in which he was found.

She said the family did not even know what Mr Regeni was wearing when his body was discovered or information about the alleged gang.

The head of the Italian parliament's human rights committee, Luigi Manconi, said the government should recall the country's ambassador to Cairo and declare Egypt unsafe for visitors if the investigation went nowhere.