Italian investigators have obtained the computer and mobile phone of a Cambridge University lecturer whose student was murdered in Egypt in 2016.
They received the items from UK police, who searched Dr Maha Abdelrahman’s Cambridge home on Wednesday.
The body of her student Giulio Regeni was found dumped in the outskirts of Cairo in February 2016. He had been researching independent trade unions.
There is no suggestion Dr Abdelrahman was involved in his death.
However, investigators want to find out how Regeni came to his research subject and whether anyone put him in harm’s way.
Egypt has cracked down hard on unofficial protest movements since the 2011 Arab Spring, a revolution which toppled then-president Hosni Mubarak.
“Yesterday we, Cambridgeshire police, did carry out a search of Dr Abdelrahman’s home on behalf of the Italian authorities. Dr Abdelrahman fully co-operated and voluntarily handed over everything which was requested,” police told the BBC. Her university office was not searched, they added.
Italian investigators want to examine Dr Abdelrahman’s phone data for the period January 2015-February 2016.
The Rome Prosecutor’s Office said the items seized “will be useful to bring definitive clarity, in an unequivocal and objective way, to the tutor’s role regarding the facts of the investigation”.
The case has caused tension between the governments of Italy and Egypt.
Italian officials want to determine Dr Abdelrahman’s role in Regeni’s research. She is Egyptian and was a professor of sociology in Cairo before joining the Cambridge Centre of Development Studies in 2007.
Media reports quote her as saying Regeni had freely chosen his PhD research topic.
Egypt has denied accusations that Regeni died in custody. However, officials have admitted that the security services were monitoring him.
Italy’s Ansa news agency says Italian prosecutors have asked UK police to identify all students supervised by Dr Abdelrahman who were sent to Cairo in the period 2012-2015.
Cambridge University says “both the university and Dr Abdelrahman are co-operating fully” with the investigation.
Regeni Egypt murder: Cambridge tutor’s data seized