On Regeni's body cuts and bruises, signs of torture. Dramatic story in the courtroom of former ambassador to Cairo Massari


By John

A body tortured by torture. Clear signs of the suffering inflicted for days in a villa used by the Egyptian secret services. From the words of the former Italian ambassador to Cairo, Maurizio Massari, emerges the violence of the torture to which Giulio Regeni was subjected between 25 January 2016, the day of his kidnapping, to when he was found on 3 February on the road that connects the capital with Alexandria in Egypt. The diplomat was heard as a witness in the proceedings taking place before the first assize court of the capital. A long, painful, hearing that lasted over four hours.

Massari, currently Italian ambassador to the UN, has lined up a series of pieces reconstructing those dramatic days of 8 years ago. «I personally went to the morgue where Giulio's body was kept – he stated, answering the questions of the deputy prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco -. There were evident signs of torture, blows received all over the body with bruises and signs of fractures and cuts.”

The news of the discovery of the body was communicated to him on February 3 by the Egyptian deputy foreign minister. «I then remember that I received some messages from Regeni's tutor at the American University in Cairo. It was she who told me where the body was, she advised me to go there and to insist that the autopsy not be carried out in Egypt”, added the diplomat.

Massari, who was ambassador to Cairo until April 2016, then returned to the memory of the day of Regeni's disappearance. «January 25th was a special day – he stated -, it was the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution: there was a lot of police, there had been searches. From the embassies we sent warnings to Italians to avoid dangerous areas and gatherings.

But Giulio didn't receive it, it wasn't registered, there was no obligation.” That night the diplomat was contacted by telephone by a friend of Giulio. «I remember receiving a phone call around 11.30pm from an Italian professor who told me that he hadn't heard from Regeni for a few hours and that he hadn't shown up for an appointment they had that evening and his cell phone was turned off.

I immediately notified the head of the Aise center at the embassy who took action with his contacts but who, however, had no news on Regeni.” On February 2, after the news of the disappearance of the Friulian researcher had become official, the ambassador was received by the Egyptian Minister of the Interior.

«We had no news on Giulio's fate but the minister made references to the video cameras in the Cairo subway which showed no evidence of Giulio passing by on the evening of January 25th».

The witness reported that all channels were alerted in those days. «We contacted people from Egyptian civil society, particularly those linked to the defense of human rights. They told us about Giulio's research on street vendors, which he had been “paying attention to” for some time, who had been photographed. They linked the disappearance to Giulio's research activity. Everything led us to believe that Giulio had been stopped in some way by the Egyptian authorities, that there was something linked to his research activity that could have caused annoyance”, added the diplomat who recalled that in the past there had been episodes of disappearances of our compatriots then resolved after a few days. «They were found after a few days – he added -. For example, I remember an engineer who was carrying out research in Cairo and one day he was arrested because he had entered a military area. Then he was released.”

Also included in the investigation documents is what was produced by the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry. The judges have, in fact, given the green light to the acquisition of the documents as requested by the Prosecutor's Office.