Fiumicello, February 12 – All one thousand seats were filled at the funeral ceremony on Friday for Giulio Regeni, the Italian doctoral research student who was brutally murdered in Egypt.
The ceremony took place in a gymnasium in Regeni’s hometown of Fiumicello, about 35 kilometres northwest of Trieste in the northern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where flags in the region’s public offices flew at half-mast and the region’s website displayed a black mourning ribbon.
Businesses and public offices in Fiumicello were closed on Friday for a citywide day of mourning, with only coffee bars and restaurants open specifically to service the large number of mourners and press in town to cover the funeral.
About one thousand additional mourners gathered outside of the gymnasium to pay their respects. Among the dignitaries present were Friuli-Venezia Giulia Governor Debora Serracchiani and Chairman of the Italian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Pier Ferdinando Casini.
Flowers were sent by the Italian Embassy and the University of Cambridge, where the 28-year-old Regeni was conducting his PhD research in the Department of Politics and International Studies.
The ceremony was conducted partially in English to accommodate Regeni’s foreign friends who don’t speak Italian.
Regeni’s casket was covered with white flowers and carried into the gymnasium, followed by family and close friends.
The priest who officiated the funeral expressed thanks to Regeni in his homily.
“Thank you for this work of witnessing that involves us all. Thank you, thank you, and thank you still,” said Father Luigi Fontanot, who was one of Regeni’s personal friends.
“Giulio was a special person, for his enthusiasm, for his desire for knowledge,” Fontanot said.
Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday that Egypt’s friendship with Italy means that it must find and disclose the truth about Regeni’s murder. “It’s a dramatic case and I once again I express my condolences to Giulio’s family and I say what we have already said to the Egyptians – friendship is a precious thing and it is only possible with the truth,” Renzi told Radio Anch’io.
Regeni was found in a ditch on a desert road outside Cairo February 3 after disappearing January 25, the fifth anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
His ears were clipped, nose broken, two nails were torn out and there were cuts all over his body including to the soles of his feet.
Egypt has repeatedly denied its security forces had anything to do with the murder.
-more at ANSA