Regeni ears clipped, cuts all over body

Egypt denies security forces had part in murder

(ANSA) - Rome, February 8 - As Egypt on Monday denied its security forces had any hand in the murder of Giulio Regeni, it emerged Monday that the Italian student's body was found with both its ears clipped and cuts all over the corpse.
    Regeni had the tops of both his ears clipped off during the torture that preceded his death, investigative sources told ANSA. The body showed dozens of "little cuts", including on the soles of his feet, they said. One of Regeni's fingernails had been torn out along with one of his toenails. "There are marks of small cuts all over the body," the sources said, "on both the front and back". Among various bones broken were his collarbones, they said.
    Regeni, 28, a Cambridge PhD student and visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo, was found in a ditch outside Cairo last Wednesday night, over a week after disappearing on January 25, the anniversary of the uprising that led to Hosni Mubarak's ouster. He was killed by a final blow that broke his neck.
    Egyptian security forces were not involved in Regeni's death, Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar told a press conference Monday. "We refute all the accusations and allusions on an involvement by the security (forces)," he said. He said "all parts of our apparatus are largely focused on solving this case". Ghaffar said that "we have repeatedly confirmed that Mr Regeni was not imprisoned by any Egyptian authority".
    Ghaffar said that "we are absolutely not treating Regeni as a spy but as if he were an Egyptian." He said Regeni's murder was "a criminal act".
    Regeni's body was found by a taxi driver whose vehicle had broken down, General Ghaffar told the press conference. "The body was found on the Hazem Hassan motorway bridge" in the desert between Cairo and Alessandria, he said. The tax driver and his passengers "discovered the body when they were getting out of the taxi to see what was wrong," the general said.
    Meawnhile friends of Regeni, questioned by Italian investigators, said he was not very strongly politically engaged and all his contacts were made with the aim of writing his Cambridge doctoral thesis. "He was just doing the work of a researcher," they reportedly said. Regeni's work on trade unions - on which he had written under a pseudonym for Rome daily il manifesto - had prompted reports he had been meeting political activists.
    His parents, meanwhile, said he had not voiced any fears for his safety, an assertion that clashed with earlier reports.
    Egyptian Ambassador to Italy Amr Helmy told ANSA that "unjustified insinuations without evidence" should be avoided in Regeni's murder. "It would be opportune not to arrive at hasty conclusions related to the ongoing probe," he said, adding that an eight-strong Italian investigative team had had "important meetings with their Egyptian counterparts". Amr said the aim of these meetings "is to uncover the dynamics of the Italian student's death and identify and punish the real culprits of this atrocious crime".
    According to the New York Times Sunday, the US will likely bring up Refeni's murder in meetings with Egyptian officials this week. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, while Sarah B.
    Sewall, the State Department's top human rights official, travels to Cairo. The case "(is) another alarming a country where arbitrary detention and torture have become increasingly common," the paper wrote.
    Last August during a visit by Kerry to Cairo US officials criticised the human rights situation in the country under president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the New York Times said.
    Despite this, the administration of US president Barack Obama continues to pay out 1.3 billion dollars a year in military aid to Egypt, partly due to its strategic importance in the region, the paper wrote. The US State Department on Monday offered its "deepest condolences to the family and friends" of Regeni but refused to comment on media reports that the case might come up in talks with Egyptian officials later this week.
    "We observe that official investigations into Regeni's murder are underway with the participation of Italian investigators," a US State Department spokesman said.