Mother of Italian Student Brutally Murdered in Egypt Appeals to Pope for Justice

The mother of Giulio Regeni, the Italian student tortured, mutilated and slain in Egypt last year, has appealed to Pope Francis to press the matter during his upcoming visit to Cairo.

The Regeni family’s lawyer, Alessandra Ballerini, claimed Monday during a press conference that the unsolved murder of the young man “directly involves the highest officials of Egyptian National Security.”

Giulio Regeni was the victim of “state murder,” Ballerini said, adding that she had the names of two senior Egyptian security officials who were directly involved in his disappearance and death.

Giulio’s mother Paola publicly appealed to Pope Francis Monday, urging him to address the matter of her son’s murder with state officials during his visit to Cairo on April 28 and 29.

“We are confident,” she said during a press conference held in the Italian Senate, “that the Pope cannot fail to remember him during this trip, sharing our concrete demand for the truth in order to finally have peace.”

The 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD student disappeared in Cairo on January 25, 2016, and his mutilated corpse turned up a week later outside the city.

The Regeni’s lawyer claims to know the exact place where Giulio was held prisoner, an out-of-the-way place “at the disposition of the state apparatus” where they were able to “torture someone with the right tools.”

“Our consultants have seen hundreds tortured bodies and they say they have never seen anything like it,” she said.

Giulio’s body had suffered multiple fractures and according to the autopsy, he had been beaten with “fists, batons and hammers.” His mother said she was only able to recognise her son by the tip of his nose.

Official police investigations into the murder yielded few answers. In fact, Egyptian police initially suggested the young man had died in a traffic accident.

Later, police changed their story, alleging that he had been killed by a criminal gang hostile to foreigners whose members were all killed in a shootout with police.

The lack of credible results from investigations has reportedly strained relations between Italy and Egypt, as suspicions lean toward direct involvement of Egypt’s security services. As yet, however, there is still no clear motive for the killing.

Claudio Regeni, Giulio’s father, said Monday that the family had received “assurances” from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni that he would pursue the matter until justice was done.

“We continue to trust in our institutions,” he said.

On April 28, Pope Francis will visit the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo and then each will deliver an address at an International Peace Conference. Following the conference, the Pope will meet with state officials and then with leaders of the local Christian community.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter 


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