Giulio Regeni, an Italian doctoral student at Cambridge who was studying abroad in Egypt, disappeared on his way to a party in Cairo. He was found dead by the roadside over a week later.
Regeni, 28, was last seen heading to a birthday party on January 25, 2016—the fifth anniversary of the start of the uprising that ended the 30-year reign of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. When Regeni was found on February 3, he was so severely wounded that his mother said she could only recognize him by the tip of his nose. According to Time magazine, Regeni's body bore bruises and burns, and his ears and fingers were cut—marks that human rights groups claim are signs of the torture techniques used by the Egyptian security services.
Egyptian security officials, however, maintained that Regeni had been killed in a car accident of had been the victim of common criminals.
Regeni’s case spurred a diplomatic crisis. As his family, as well as Italian and European Union officials, pressed for a full investigation, the situation created a rift in Egyptian-Italian relations, imperiling what had been one of Egypt’s strongest relationships with any European state. The Association for Italian Tourism suspended package tours to Egypt, and top Italian officials threatened stronger action if Egypt did not immediately cooperate.
Despite this pressure, the killing remains unsolved. It serves as as a reminder that Egyptian authorities are failing to protect foreign nationals in the country.