A Rome judge has ordered four high-ranking members of Egypt‘s security forces to stand trial for the abduction, torture and killing in Cairo of an Italian doctoral student.

Judge Pierluigi Balestrieri set October 14 as the date for the opening of the trial, the LaPresse news agency reported after a closed-door preliminary hearing.

It is widely expected that the suspects will be tried in absentia.

Giulio Regeni’s parents, Paola Deffendi (centre) and Claudio Regeni (left). (Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto/Getty)

In December, Italian prosecutors formally put the four Egyptians under investigation for their alleged roles in the 2016 slaying of Giulio Regeni.

Mr Regeni’s body was found on a highway days after he disappeared in the Egyptian capital on January 25, 2016.

He was in Cairo to research union activities among street vendors as part of his doctoral thesis.

His mother has said his body was so mutilated by torture that she was only able to recognise the tip of his nose when she viewed it.

Human rights activists have said the marks on his body resembled those resulting from widespread torture in Egyptian facilities.

The coffin of Giulio Regeni is carried on during the funeral ceremony behind the family Claudio Regeni and Paola Deffendi. (Andrea Spinelli/Pacific Press/Getty)

Egyptian authorities have alleged that the Cambridge University doctoral student fell victim to ordinary robbers.

The case strained relations between Italy and Egypt, an ally for Rome in efforts to combat terrorism.

At one point, Italy withdrew its ambassador to press for Egyptian cooperation in the investigation.

This content first appear on 9news

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