Approximately 60 activists gathered Saturday in front of the Italian embassy in Garden City to commemorate the life of the University of Cambridge PhD candidate and Italian national, Giulio Regeni who was found dead in Cairo on Wednesday.
Mourners placed flowers and candles in front of the embassy in memoriam, carrying signs in support of Regeni and his family. Regeni had been missing since 25 January, before his body was found, bearing signs of beating on it.
Ahdaf Souief, a writer and political commentator who was present at the commemoration Saturday, stated that Regini’s role as a researcher was not in relation to political activism that would have fomented anti-regime sentiment. “We cannot know who did this to him, but the atmosphere is hard for any researcher,” she said.
Hoda Kamel, a labour activist who was helping Regini with his work, said she saw him for the last time on 18 January. “His work is far away from politics”, Kamel said as she cried.
The body of Regeni, has been repatriated to Italy, where Regeni was a citizen.
The investigations into Regeni’s death have been bolstered by the arrival of a delegation of Italian investigators to Cairo on Friday who will take part in the investigations.
Egyptian Ambassador to Rome Amr Helmy told the Italian News Agency (ANSA) on Friday that the Egyptian government is addressing the incident objectively and with seriousness, according to a statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
Last seen near the Behouth metro station in Dokki, Giulio Regeni was found dead along the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road highway late on Wednesday. His body bore marks of physical trauma and possible torture, according to a security source.
ANSA reported that two people were arrested on Friday over the case. The Ministry of Interior has refused to confirm this report.
However, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told Italian media that the arrests are far from helpful in clarifying the unknown elements of Regeni’s death.
While the motive behind the crime has yet to be ascertained, the Italian newspaper La Stampa speculated that Regeni’s contacts and meetings with labour unions in Egypt caught the “attention” of the police.
Regeni, who had just turned 28, was a PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and had come to Cairo as a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC). He was reported missing on the fifth anniversary of 25 January Revolution. He was last known to be travelling to Downtown Cairo via the Behouth metro station.