Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni disappeared at a metro station one year ago as he was traveling from his apartment in Dokki to meet a friend in downtown Cairo. It was a gloomy day on which there was exceptional security presence to deter potential protests on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolution.
Days later, his body was found beside a highway just outside of Cairo, half naked and bearing signs of torture. His parents, Paola and Claudio Regeni, said that they couldn’t recognize their son’s face due to the severity of the torture he had suffered, only being able to recognize him from the tip of his nose.
“Giulio’s face has become so small, but we saw, from the tip of his nose, all the evil of the world,” his mother, Paola, said.
A year later, the details of Regeni’s death remain a mystery, although traces of the truth have started to emerge. The Egyptian authorities have moved from saying that Regeni died in a road accident to being abducted by a gang of thieves, five of whom were killed by local police in unknown circumstances. Egypt’s investigators admitted only recently that they put Regeni under surveillance after they received a complaint from a representative of the street vendors syndicate who denounced him as a spy.
Regeni was conducting engaged social sciences research on independent trade unions as a PhD student with Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he had previously pursed a BA and an MA in Arabic and political sciences. Born and raised in an Italian town located in the northeast of Italy, Regeni began traveling as a teenager. In New Mexico, he attended the United World College, an international scholarship-based educational organization that operates a series of schools promoting international understanding. During a break in his studies, he worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and Oxford Analytica, a consulting firm. For his PhD research, Regeni spent the last portion of his life doing fieldwork in Cairo. He had just celebrated his 28th birthday days earlier among his friends.
Mada Masr has compiled a timeline that charts the events that followed from Regeni’s last station on the day he disappeared in Cairo.