French prosecutors question widow on Arafat death

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The Independent Online

The widow of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been questioned by French lawyers investigating his death, it emerged yesterday.

Suha Arafat, who believes her late husband could have been poisoned, was interviewed as a witness in France last month, a source told Agence France-Presse.

Mr Arafat died in France in 2004. At the time, it was reported that he had suffered a stroke, which resulted from a blood disorder.

But a murder investigation was launched earlier this year, after a privately hired Swiss firm found high levels of polonium-210 – a rare and lethal radioactive material – on Mr Arafat's belongings.

French prosecutors are due to travel to the West Bank in November as part of an attempt to exhume Mr Arafat's body, which is buried in the presidential complex in Ramallah. However, an international inquiry set up by the UN Security Council or the International Court of Justice may be required before it can be exhumed.