Polish woman who died in mysterious circumstances at Red Sea resort in Egypt 'may have been murdered'

Egyptian authorities cooperating fully with Polish counterparts

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The Independent Online

Polish authorities are investigating whether a young woman was caught up in trafficking or sexual exploitation on a trip to Egypt before she died in mysterious circumstances.

Magdalena Zuk, 27, died in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam after falling from the first or second storey of a hospital. Ewa Weglarowicz-Makowska, the lead Polish investigator, has now said she is pursuing suspicions of murder.

Ms Zuk flew to the resort on 25 April and died five days later. She had planned to go with her boyfriend but, in the event, he did not accompany her. The pair kept in touch by phone.

Two days into the trip he became worried by her behaviour and Polish diplomats in Cairo agreed to help schedule her early return home. But due to her “worsening health condition” she was taken to hospital in Hurghada, some three hours north of Marsa Alam, accompanied by a friend and a tour guide.

At some point later she returned to Marsa Alam, where she fell from a height and died from her injuries, Polish officials said.

Prosecutors in Jelenia Gora, Poland, pushed to be included in the investigation after the “failure” of Egyptian law enforcement to conduct an autopsy for some days after Ms Zuk died, they said in a statement. The procedure was eventually carried out on 9 May in the presence of a Polish forensic expert, according to the Polish foreign ministry.

Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro spoke with Egypt’s attorney general for 40 minutes by phone last week and the Egyptian official agreed to take “personal oversight” of the case, the Polish justice ministry said.

A spokesman told The Independent: “Egypt's attorney general has declared his readiness to cooperate fully with the Polish prosecutor's office, including the questioning of witnesses in Egypt. He also assured that the Polish side would be kept informed about the conduct of the investigation by the Egyptian prosecutors.”

In a Polish media report referenced by the justice ministry spokesman, Mr Ziobro said investigators were examining claims Ms Zuk’s death was related to human trafficking and organised crime. They will also consider suggestions – which appeared to have spread on social media and were posted on a white supremacist website – that sexual violence and drugs were involved, according to the report on Onet.

The Polish foreign ministry did not address the rumours in its statement to The Independent.

A report on the website of Egypt’s biggest newspaper, Al Ahram, cited a “security source” as saying Ms Zuk was drunk and in “an agitated state” the day she died. She took her own life, the report claimed.

Polish authorities have demanded access to Ms Zuk’s medical documents.

The Egyptian embassy in London said it could not comment until the investigation had finished.