Sunday 25 February 2018

Yasser Arafat’s widow Suha files 'murder' case in France

YASSER Arafat's widow has launched a court case in France into the unexplained death of the iconic Palestinian leader eight years ago after a media report suggested he may have been poisoned.

Allegations of foul play have long surrounded Arafat's demise in November 2004 after French doctors who treated him in his final days said they could not establish the cause of death.

The controversy was reignited by an Al Jazeera expose earlier this month in which the Swiss Radiophysics Institute said it found "surprisingly" high levels of polonium-210 on Arafat's clothing - the same substance used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

The Swiss institute said, however, that the symptoms described in the Palestinian president's medical reports were not consistent with the radioactive agent.

Pierre-Olivier Sur, the family's French lawyer, said the request was intended to "establish the truth in memory of their husband and father."

"This complaint of assassination is directed against X - Suha Arafat does not accuse anyone: neither a state, nor a group, nor an individual," he said.

The Palestinian Authority agreed to a request from Suha Arafat - who lives in Malta and France - to exhume her husband's body from a limestone mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah for an autopsy three weeks ago.

"I want the world to know the truth about the assassination of Yasser Arafat," Suha Arafat told Al Jazeera, without making any direct accusations, but noting that both Israel and the United States regarded him as an obstacle to peace.

Allegations of foul play - and of Palestinian involvement in it - have long marked factional fighting among Palestinians.

The latest revelation coincides with renewed tensions within Arafat's Fatah movement, now headed by his successor President Mahmoud Abbas, and between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip

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