Arafat’s Widow Pressing France to Investigate Husband’s Death
The widow of late PLO arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat plans to file a legal complaint in France asking authorities to investigate her husband's death.
The move comes after a broadcast last week by Arab satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera, which said it had conducted a nine-month investigation into Arafat's death after his widow, Suha, provided the station Arafat's medical file and what she said was a duffel bag of his belongings.
Included in the bag were a fur hat and a woolen cap with some of his hair, a toothbrush, and clothing with his urine and blood stains.
Switzerland's Institute of Radiation Physics detected elevated traces of polonium-210 — a rare and highly lethal substance — on the belongings, but said the findings were inconclusive and that Arafat's bones would have to be tested.
That prompted a request by Suha — who asserts her husband was the victim of foul play — to have his remains exhumed. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed to the request earlier this week.
However, testing Arafat's bones may not provide definitive answers. Polonium-210 decays rapidly, and experts have been divided over whether Arafat's remains would provide a solid clue eight years after his death at a French military hospital.
French doctors have said Arafat died of a massive stroke and had suffered from a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC. The condition has numerous possible causes, including infections and liver disease.
Rumors of poisoning circulated at the time, but PA officials have denied them to date. Former PA foreign minister Nabil Sha'ath said he "totally" ruled poisoning out.
Additionally, Arafat's nephew Nasser al-Kidwa said in 2004 that medical records showed no cause of death for his uncle.
Al-Kidwa, who was a PA observer to the United Nations at the time, told reporters toxicology tests showed "no known poison."