The Egyptian justice minister’s aide for forensics said on Tuesday that media reports about the repeated torture of an Italian student prior to his murder in Cairo are “lies.”
The aide, Shaaban El-Shamy, denied that forensics authority head Hisham Abdel-Hamid told prosecutors that the autopsy of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni showed that he was tortured in sporadic intervals spanning seven days prior to his death.
The body of Regeni, a PhD student who was conducting research on independent trade union movements in Egypt, was found with signs of torture along a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo early in February.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Abdel-Hamid told the public prosecutor's office that the autopsy conducted in Cairo showed that Regeni “was tortured for up to seven days before he was killed,” according to two prosecution sources.
El-Shamy added that Abdel-Hamid neither testified in front of the prosecution nor was he asked to.
Reuters quoted an unnamed prosecution source saying that, according to Abdel-Hamid, the wounds on Regeni’s body were inflicted over intervals of between 10 to 14 hours, implying that whoever killed him was interrogating him for information.
According to Reuters, Abdel-Hamid declined to comment when contacted by the news agency.
The justice minister’s aide warned of the danger of such “misleading news that subjects its writers to legal questioning,” asking the media to not issue reports from news outlets that “intentionally twist facts and spread lies about Egypt for political aims.”
Last week, Egypt's interior ministry said that the culprits behind Regeni's murder had not been identified.
The ministry suggested that criminal activity or revenge for personal reasons may have been the motive, saying that Regeni's “various relationships” during the course of his study indicate this as a possibility.
The interior ministry also denied in an earlier statement that Regeni had been in custody before his death, describing the reports as “completely false,” adding that a team of Egyptian investigators is in “complete cooperation” with the Italian authorities to determine the circumstances of the killing.