Arafat Poisoning Inquiry Dismissed In France

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Arafat Poisoning Inquiry Dismissed In France

Prosecutors say there is not enough evidence to prove radioactive poisoning caused the former Palestinian leader's death.

Yasser Arafat Conducts Friday PrayersMr Arafat died in hospital in France in 2004 after falling ill

French magistrates have decided to drop an inquiry into the death of Yasser Arafat, whose widow claims he was poisoned.

The 75-year-old former Palestinian leader died in hospital in France in 2004, four weeks after falling ill.

The official cause of death was a massive stroke, although doctors were unable to find the origin of his illness and no autopsy was carried out.

An investigation was opened in August 2012, at the request of his wife Suha Arafat, after traces of polonium-210 - the same radioactive substance that killed Russian spy Alexander Litvinkenko in 2006 - were reportedly found on some of Mr Arafat's belongings.

His body was exhumed and tests were conducted separately by French, Russian and Swiss experts.


Video: 2012: Arafat Widow On Autopsy

The Swiss found that their results were consistent with but not proof of poisoning by radioactive polonium. 

However, French experts ruled out the theory radioactive poisoning caused his death and the Russians reportedly found no traces of polonium on his body.

Assistant prosecutor Emmanuelle Lepissier told The Associated Press news agency the inquiry had now been dismissed because there was not enough evidence to prove Mr Arafat  "was assassinated by polonium (poisoning) or the intervention by another person."

Mr Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord with Israel and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later.

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