Cambridge student, 28, tortured to death after he was mistaken for a spy had legs, arms, seven ribs and every finger broken, severe burns and was slashed all over his body with a razor by Egyptian security officers, inquest hears

A Cambridge student who was tortured to death after being mistaken for a foreign spy in Cairo in 2016 had his bones broken and was slashed across his body with a razor by four Egyptian security officers, an inquest heard.

Giulio Regeni, 28, was beaten with sticks and suffered severe burns, the prosecution’s medical consultant told during the trial against the Egyptian intelligence officers in Rome on Wednesday.

It was revealed the autopsy of the Italian student showed major signs of extreme torture including cuts and bruises from severe beatings and more than two dozen bone fractures – among them seven broken ribs, all fingers and toes, as well as legs, arms, and shoulder blades.

Regeni’s body also had multiple stab wounds on the soles of his feet, slices in his skin made from a sharp object suspected to be a razor blade and several cigarette burns.

A larger burn mark was spotted between his shoulder blades – a chilling sign that the student was pressed with a large, burning object.

Giulio Regeni, a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, (pictured) disappeared in the Egyptian capital in January 2016 at the age of 28. It has been revealed he suffered broken bones, severe burns and razor slashes across his body while being tortured to death

The autopsy revealed that mutilated Regini had also suffered a brain hemorrhage and a broken cervical vertebra after having his neck twisted or struck, which ultimately led to his death. 

Medical examiner Vittorio Fineschi, who conducted the autopsy on the Italian researcher said he found on the corpse ‘almost all the tortures carried out in Egypt’.

Regeni, from Fiumicello, a town near Udine in northeastern Italy, was tortured so badly that his mother Paola Deffendi said she could only recognise him ‘from the tip of his nose’. 

She added that ‘all the evil in the world’ was inflicted upon her son’s body.  

Regeni was subjected to the horrific abuse at the hands of four Egyptian secret service agents who Italian prosecutors allege were involved in the killing, but have been unable to track them down to issue summons.

As a result, they are being tried in absentia. The second, and latest, trial took place in February – which Regeni’s mother, father, and sister attended. 

The PhD student was on his way to see a friend when he left his flat near Behoos metro station in Cairo on January 25, 2016. 

Nine days later, his body was found naked from the waist down and dumped in a ditch near a desert highway between Cairo and Alexandria.

His horrific murder became the first time such an act had happened to a foreign academic researcher working in Cairo.

Regeni had been in Cairo to research Egypt’s independent unions for his doctoral thesis. Associates say he was also interested in the long-standing domination of Egypt’s economy by the state and military. Both subjects are sensitive in Egypt.

He was also found to have been writing antigovernmental articles under a pseudonym for the left-wing Italian newspaper il Manifesto.

The newspaper’s foreign desk editor, Simone Pieranni, said at the time the articles were written under an alternative name for fear of reprisal attacks.

Pieranni said: ‘I imagine it was for security because the articles were about workers and unions.

‘It’s clear that when you speak about social rights and workers’ rights in Egypt you are implicitly denouncing the lack of freedom.’

In an editorial, the paper added: ‘He feared for his safety’.

Personal belongings of slain Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni, including his passport

Personal belongings of slain Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni, including his passport

Prosecutors said in February they had evidence showing that Major Magdi Sharif, from Egypt’s General Intelligence, got informants to follow Regeni and eventually had him arrested in a Cairo metro station.

The Egyptian government admitted in 2016 to having put the student under surveillance. 

The charge sheet said Sharif, and other, unidentified Egyptian officials, then tortured Regeni over several days, causing him ‘acute physical suffering’.

An Egyptian friend of Regeni said that shortly before Regeni’s death the student had been seeking contacts for trade union activists to interview as part of his research.

This political research had been the main focus when the friend was questioned by police following the Italian student’s disappearance, he said.

Another friend revealed that Regeni had left his accommodation in a ‘middle-class part of Cairo to meet a friend downtown’.

‘The friend called him after he didn’t show up. His cell was off then,’ the friend told MailOnline in 2016, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘We briefly talked on the day of his disappearance, about two hours earlier. He was happy and cheerful, he was about to meet a friend. No indication of any worries whatsoever’.

Italian and Egyptian prosecutors initially investigated the case together, but came to different conclusions.

Egypt said the killing was the work of gangsters and denied any state involvement in Regeni’s disappearance or death.

His family categorically denied the suggestion in Italian press reports that Regeni may have worked for Italian intelligence.