Egyptian officials: Body of Italian student shows signs of torture

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Signs of Torture on Body of Missing Italian Found Dead in Cairo

CAIRO (Reuters) -- The body of an Italian student who went missing in Cairo was found half naked by the roadside with cigarette burns and other signs of torture, a senior Egyptian prosecutor said on Thursday.

In Rome, Italy's Foreign Ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador to express concern over the death of Giulio Regeni, who disappeared on Jan. 25, the five-year anniversary of the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

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The body of the 28-year-old Cambridge University doctoral student has been taken to a Cairo morgue, a morgue worker and Egyptian security officials said.

The officials said an investigation had begun.

"What we are certainly doing is urging the Egyptian government to allow Italian authorities a joint investigation, to return the boy's body to his family as soon as possible, to collaborate. We want the truth about what happened," Italy's foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, told RAI state TV.

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi later repeated the request that Regeni's body be returned as soon as possible.

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Egyptian officials: Body of Italian student shows signs of torture
This image posted online after the Jan. 25, 2016 disappearance of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo, Egypt shows Reggeni in a graphic used in an online campaign, #whereisgiulio seeking information on his whereabouts. The body of the missing Italian student was found with signs of torture, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2015. (#wheresgiulio via AP)
Egyptian security forces stand guard outside Zeinhom morgue, where the body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student, is held, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The body of the missing Italian student was found with signs of torture, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
A vehicle belonging to the Italian ambassador is parked outside Zeinhom morgue, where the body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student, is held, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The body of the missing Italian student was found with signs of torture, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday.(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
People enter Cairo, Egypt's central morgue where the body of Giulio Regeni, A 28-year-old graduate student, is held, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The body of the a missing Italian student was found with signs of torture, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday.(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Italian ambassador to Egypt Maurizio Massari (3rd R)arrives on February 4, 2016 to a morgue where the body of Italian student Giulio Regeni was brought after it was found earlier on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo. The Italian student who mysteriously disappeared from central Cairo 10 days ago was found dead in a ditch outside the Egyptian capital, half-naked and with injuries on his body, officials said. Giulio Regeni, 28, a Cambridge University PhD student, was researching on trade union movements in Egypt when he went missing on January 25 while on his way to meet a friend. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle belonging to the Italian ambassador is parked outside Zeinhom morgue, where the body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student, is held, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The body the a missing Italian student was found with signs of torture, including multiple stab wounds and cigarette burns, by the side of a highway on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, an investigating prosecutor told The Associated Press on Thursday.(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
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Regeni had disappeared after leaving home in a smart district of Cairo to meet a friend downtown, according to another friend. His body was found at the beginning of the main road between Cairo and Alexandria, security officials said.

Last year, Islamic State militants kidnapped a Croatian man from the outskirts of Cairo and later beheaded him, but such incidents are rare and there was a heavy police presence in downtown Cairo when Regeni went missing.

Rights groups say Egyptians are often detained by police on little evidence and beaten or coerced. Scores have disappeared since 2013. Egypt denies allegations of police brutality.

Although the cause of death is still unclear, Regeni's case could hurt its efforts to project an image of stability and attract more tourism and foreign investment after years of political turmoil and Islamist militant violence.

The Italian Foreign Ministry's director general, Michele Valensise, "urgently" summoned Egyptian Ambassador Amr Mostafa Kamal Helmy after Regeni's body was found on Wednesday.

The ministry said it expected "maximum collaboration at all levels in light of the exceptional gravity of what happened."

Italian Industry Minister Federica Guidi cut short a two-day visit to Egypt on Wednesday after Regeni's death was reported.

A copy of Regeni's CV, provided by another friend, indicated he spoke four languages and had won several scholarships. His research focused on trade unions in Egypt after the 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Islamist militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since the army toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. They have also targeted Westerners.

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