Egypt hands over phones records to Italian investigators

Egypt has sent Italian investigators some phone records they had requested as part of their probe into the torture and killing of student Giulio Regeni in Cairo earlier this year, a legal source said on Wednesday.

Italy last month recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations after the Italians said that Cairo did not provide information that Rome said was needed to solve Regeni's killing, including a mass of telephone data.

The legal source with direct knowledge of the investigation said Rome had asked for the phone records of 13 Egyptians who had been in contact with the 28-year-old Regeni before he vanished on January 25, and had received some of the documents they had requested. The source did not give further details.

He said Italian investigators would fly to Cairo on Sunday for talks with their Egyptian counterparts.

Regeni's body was discovered in a road-side ditch nine days after he disappeared. An autopsy showed that he had been extensively tortured before his death and his mother told reporters that she had only recognised her son by his nose.

Human rights groups have said the torture indicated he died at the hands of the security forces, an allegation Cairo denies.

Three Egyptian intelligence officials and three police sources told Reuters that Regeni was detained by police and then transferred to a compound run by Homeland Security on the day his friends say he disappeared. The Interior Ministry and Homeland Security department denied this, saying Regeni was not held by police or Homeland Security.

Following the report, local media reported that two individuals filed criminal complaints asking police to investigate Reuters and its Cairo bureau chief.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has demanded that Egypt get to the bottom of the killing and Italy has rejected various versions about how Regeni might have died — including that he might have fallen into the hands of a criminal gang.

A senior Italian government official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Rome would issue a travel warning for visitors to Egypt unless it received more information from the Cairo investigators.

Besides the phone records of certain individuals, Italy also wants mobile phone data that it says would help identify who was on the streets around where Regeni was believed to have disappeared.

Egypt's assistant public prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman said last month that this data could amount to nearly a million calls, adding that the Egyptian constitution prevented him from providing this information.

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