Italian prosecutors have concluded an investigation into the disappearance and murder of student Giulio Regeni and indicted four senior members of Egypt’s security forces as possible suspects, a statement said on Thursday.
The mutilated remains of Regeni, an Italian doctoral student, were discovered in a ditch alongside the Cairo-Alexandria highway on February 3, 2016.
On Thursday, after over four years, Italian prosecutors named Major Sherif Magdy, from General Intelligence; Major General Tarek Sabir, the former head of state security; police Colonel Hisham Helmy; and Colonel Ather Kamal, a former head of investigations in the Cairo municipality as possible suspects.
They gave the quartet 20 days to submit statements or ask to be heard in the case. After that time, the investigators will decide whether or not to seek their trial.
Under Italian law, suspects can be tried in absentia.
Mr Regeni was researching Egypt’s trade unions at the time of his disappearance.
There was no immediate comment from Egyptian authorities but officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in his killing.
Regeni, a 28-year-old postgraduate student at Cambridge University, vanished in Cairo in January 2016. His body was found almost a week later and a post mortem examination showed he had been tortured before his death.
The autopsy showed signs of extreme torture: contusions and abrasions all over from a severe beating; extensive bruising from kicks, punches, and assault with a stick; more than two dozen bone fractures, among them seven broken ribs, all fingers and toes, as well as legs, arms, and shoulder blades; multiple stab wounds on the body including the soles of the feet, possibly from an ice pick or awl-like instrument; numerous cuts over the entire body made with a sharp instrument suspected to be a razor; extensive cigarette burns; a larger burn mark between the shoulder blades made with a hard and hot object; a brain hemorrhage; and a broken cervical vertebra, which ultimately caused death.