The head of Egypt’s independent union of street vendors reported Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni to police a few weeks before he disappeared and was murdered, an Egyptian prosecutor said in Rome.
The body of Regeni, 28, was found on the side of a roadway on the outskirts of Cairo on Feb. 3, more than a week after he vanished. The body showed signs of torture, including cigarette burns, cuts and contusions.
Government and security services deny ever taking Regeni into custody. But security and intelligence sources told Reuters in April he had been arrested by police outside a Cairo metro station on Jan. 25 and was taken to a Homeland Security compound.
Rome’s chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and Egyptian general prosecutor Nabeel Sadek met for the third time this year on Thursday and Friday to exchange information collected during their respective investigations.
Sadek “said that he confirmed that Cairo police, on Jan. 7, 2016, received a report from the head of the independent union of street vendors on Giulio Regeni,” according to a joint statement by prosecutors released on Friday.
“Afterward the police carried out checks on (Regeni’s) activity. After the checks, which lasted three days, no activity of interest to national security was discovered and, as a consequence, the checks were stopped,” the statement said.
Regeni had been researching independent labor unions in Egypt for his doctorate studies at Cambridge University, and had been in contact with the leaders of the street vendors’ union.