Rome, Feb 12: Italy today bade a tear-soaked farewell to slain student Giulio Regeni as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned Egypt their countries' close ties were on the line over the young man's brutal and unexplained death in Cairo.
More than 3,000 people attended a private funeral for the 28-year-old in his home town of Fiumicello in northeastern Italy, nine days after his torture-scarred body was found dumped in a ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.
A two-hour service in the town's sports hall culminated in a poignant message from his mother Paola Regeni, read on her behalf by a friend of Giulio's.
"Thank you Giulio for having taught me so many things. The energy of your thinking will stay in my heart. Your thinking about how to love, how to understand and how to build tolerance. I love you. Mamma."
The Egyptian coptic priest who had blessed Regeni's corpse following its discovery in Cairo had earlier said Regeni's death could serve to save other lives, referring to the biblical story of Barabbas, the man chosen by a mob to be spared crucifixion ahead of Jesus Christ.
"Giulio is the scapegoat who will free the Barrabas that we do not yet know," said Father Mamdua, who was invited to Italy for the service by the Regeni family.