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Widow: Forensic Evidence Confirms 'Political Assassination' of Yasser Arafat

Shown scientific evidence, Suha Arafat says husband was murdered though she points no figures

Common Dreams staff

Suha Arafat poses near a portrait of her late husband and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before watching the wreath laying ceremony after her husband's exhumation in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Credit: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

The findings of a forensic examination of Yasser Arafat's exhumed body were obtained by Al-Jazeera on Wednesday and in Paris the widow of the former Palestinian leader, Suha Arafat, says the results clearly show that her husband did not die of natural causes, but was murdered.

"We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination," Suha told Reuters in Paris after being given the autopsy results from the forensic team that included Swiss, Russian, and French specialists. Arafat, who died under mysterious circumstances in 2004, had his body exhumed from its resting place in Ramallah in 2012 after reports and some evidence surfaced that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader had, indeed, been poisoned.

"This has confirmed all our doubts," she continued. "It is scientifically proved that he didn't die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed."

Neither Arafat's widow or the forensic report made any claim about who may be responsible for the alleged murder, though Suha acknowledged he had many powerful enemies.

 Al-Jazeera reports:


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A 108-page report (PDF) by the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne, which was obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera, found unnaturally high levels of polonium in Arafat’s ribs and pelvis, and in soil stained with his decaying organs.

The Swiss scientists, along with French and Russian teams, obtained the samples last November after his body was exhumed from a mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Dave Barclay, a renowned U.K. forensic scientist and retired detective, told Al Jazeera that with these results he was wholly convinced that Arafat was murdered.

“Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning,” he said. “We found the smoking gun that caused his death. What we don’t know is who’s holding the gun at the time.”

“The level of polonium in Yasser Arafat’s rib…is about 900 milibecquerels,” Barclay said. “That is either 18 or 36 times the average, depending on the literature.”


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