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Arafat posined?


Sir Tokyo Sexwale

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Crime of the century it certainly isn't

 

The first forensic tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat's corpse have shown unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, suggesting the Palestinian leader could have been poisoned with the rare and lethal substance.

 

The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat's remains after the exhumation of his body in November 2012 discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat's ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.

 

The Swiss forensic report was handed to representatives of Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, as well as representatives of the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday. A copy of the report was obtained exclusively by the al-Jazeera TV network, which shared it with the Guardian before publication.

 

The Swiss report said that even taking into account the eight years since Arafat's death and the quality of specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from his body and shroud, the results "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210".

 

Suha Arafat said the evidence in the report suggested that her then healthy 75-year-old husband, who died in 2004 four weeks after he first fell ill following a meal, was almost certainly murdered by poisoning. She told al-Jazeera: "This is the crime of the century."

 

Speaking to the Guardian after receiving the report, she said she would press for answers on who was responsible. "It's shocking … I remember how Yasser was shrinking at the hospital, how in his eyes there were a lot of questions. Death is a fate in life, it is everybody's fate, but when it's poison it's terrible. We are mourning him again now."

 

With Zahwa, 18, her daughter by Arafat, she said she suspected a "conspiracy to get rid of him", adding: "My daughter and I have to know who did it. We will not stop in our quest to find out. I hope the Palestinian Authority goes further on it, searching every single aspect of it. It is of course a political crime." She said: "This is separate from the peace process or talks. Any judicial investigation is separate from the peace process."

 

David Barclay, a British forensic scientist who had studied the report, told al-Jazeera: "The report contains strong evidence, in my view conclusive evidence, that there's at least 18 times the level of polonium in Arafat's exhumed body than there should be."

 

He said the report represented "a smoking gun". Barclay said: "It's what killed him. Now we need to find out who was holding the gun at that time," adding: "I would point to him being given a fatal dose. I don't think there's any doubt at all."

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