The AFP reports that a French murder investigation into Yasser Arafat's untimely death in 2004 will conclude that the Palestinian leader was not poisoned, contradicting another team's assertion that his death was unnatural.
The French opened a murder investigation last year, after years of accusations about Arafat's death. But the investigation will say, despite some overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Arafat died naturally. "The report rules out the poisoning theory and goes in the sense of a natural death," a source told the AFP on Tuesday. A Russian investigation came to a similar conclusion last month.
But how those reports reconcile with the Swiss forensic analysis released last month will likely spur those leading the conspiracy theory movement. The Swiss concluded that Arafat's body had more than sixteen times the normal radioactive polonium levels in his system, but declined to say whether the polonium caused his death. After the results were revealed publicly, Suha Araft, the former leader's surviving wife, told Reuters she believes her husband was murdered: "We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination," she said.
Since Arafat's passing in 2004, several conspiracy theories have insisted that not everything was on the up-and-up. Radioactive polonium poisoning often leads the speculation, and an Al Jazeera documentary presented new evidence suggesting polonium poisoning killed Arafat. (Polonium poisoning, coincidentally, is also suspected of killing former a KGB agent who worked for the British government.) Arafat's remains were exhumed for forensic analysis, and pieces of tissue were sent to French, Swiss, and Russian labs.
Considering the difficult to reconcile results in each investigation — sixteen times the normal polonium levels is hard to ignore — it's unlikely these investigations will quiet those who believe Arafat was murdered.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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