A Swiss forensics investigation claims that the former
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with radioactive polonium, the TV
channel Al Jazeera reported today.
In the 108-page report, the scientists say they found at
least 18 times the normal levels of polonium in his rib, pelvis and in soil
stained with his decaying organs.
The investigation, a year in the making, concludes that
Arafat had ”unexpectedly high levels” of polonium and that ”the results
moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of
poisoning with polonium.”
A Palestinian forensic investigator removed 20 specimens
from Arafat’s grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2012. His
body was reinterred the same day. The samples from his corpse and grave were
taken in front of three international teams.
Leading forensic pathologist David Barclay told Al Jazeera
that ”if I was a judge and jury, this is absolutely stone-cold certain. This
is beyond any doubt in my opinion that it was polonium that caused the death of
Yasser Arafat.”
Arafat’s medical records state that he died in 2004 from a
blood disorder that lead to a stroke. But eight years after his death, an
investigation by Al Jazeera in July 2012 called ”What Killed Arafat” revealed
a rare, highly radioactive element on some of his personal items, including his
clothes and toothbrush. That prompted the new forensics testing. A Swiss lab in
Lausanne tested these items, which contained Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and
It was his widow, Suha Arafat, who asked the Palestinian
Authority to exhume his body for further tests. She told Al Jazeera today that
the results reveal “a real crime, a political assassination.”
“This has confirmed all our doubts,” she added.
“It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death and we
have scientific proof that this man was killed.”
However, the report has caveats. The Swiss investigators
admit there are several critical problems with their investigation, namely that
their findings are based on limited samples and that eight years had passed
between his death and testing so the ”chain of custody” of some of the
specimens was unclear.
There are also three separate parallel investigations being
conducted by French, Russian and Palestinian experts. Last month, one Russian
official said that no traces of polonium had been found. Vladimir Uiba, head of
the Russian Federal Medico-Biological Agency, was quoted by the Interfax news
agency as saying that Arafat “could not have been poisoned with polonium,”
noting that tests carried out by Russian experts “found no traces of this

The agency did, however, retract this report, denying that
Uiba had made any official statement on the findings.

By  (abcnews)
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