MIDDLE EAST

French prosecutor requests Arafat death probe be shelved

Arafat died in Percy military hospital near Paris aged 75 in November 2004 after developing stomach pains while at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah (File Photo: AP)

A French prosecutor on Tuesday said there was no case to answer regarding the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose widow alleges he was poisoned.

“The prosecution gave the opinion that the case should be dismissed,” the prosecutor’s office told AFP.

Arafat died in Percy military hospital near Paris aged 75 in November 2004 after developing stomach pains while at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

His widow Suha filed a case in 2012 at a court in Nanterre, north of Paris, saying he was murdered.

The same year, Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah was opened for a few hours allowing three teams of French, Swiss and Russian investigators to collect around 60 samples.

Three French judges concluded their investigations in April and sent their findings to the Nanterre prosecutor.

A center in the Swiss city of Lausanne had tested biological samples taken from Arafat’s belongings that were given to his widow after his death, and found “abnormal levels of polonium.”

It stopped short of saying that he had been poisoned by the extremely radioactive element.

However, French experts found that the isotopes polonium-210 and lead-210, found in Arafat’s grave and in the samples, were of “an environmental nature,” Nanterre prosecutor Catherine Denis said in April.

Lawyers for Arafat’s widow accused the judges of closing the investigation too quickly and called for more experts to be questioned.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 21 July 2015 KSA 18:38 - GMT 15:38
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French prosecutor requests Arafat death probe be shelved
A French prosecutor has said there was no case to answer regarding the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
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