The president's widow was said to be studying the records, according to a statement by her lawyers on Friday.

"Mrs Suha Arafat received today a copy of the medical file of her husband, President Yasir Arafat, which was released by the authorities at the Percy medical hospital," said her lawyers.

"She has begun to study the file," said the statement by lawyers Philippe Plantade and Jean-Marie Burguburu.

French authorities had earlier signalled they would hand over the file to Arafat's nephew, Nasir al-Qudwa, who was traveling to Paris to receive it.

Arafat died last week in the Paris hospital.

Demands for the release of his medical file grew as many Palestinians believed Arafat was poisoned by Israelis.