• Switzerland edition
 
Test Arafat for poisoning: Abbas to Swiss experts
World Economic Forum (2001)

Test Arafat for poisoning: Abbas to Swiss experts

Published: 09 Jul 2012 09:29 GMT+02:00

The Palestinian president will call on Swiss experts who probed Yasser Arafat's death to take
samples from his body for further tests, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.

The invitation comes after an investigation commissioned by Al-Jazeera news channel found elevated levels of the radioactive substance polonium on some of Arafat's belongings, suggesting the leader could have been poisoned.

"President (Mahmud) Abbas ordered one of his medical advisors to communicate immediately with the experts at the Swiss institute who tested Arafat's clothes and request they come immediately to Ramallah to take samples from Arafat's body," Saeb Erakat told AFP late on Sunday evening.

He added that Abbas hoped further tests by the experts "will reveal the real cause for Arafat's death."

Polonium, which is highly toxic, was used to kill Russian former spy turned Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, who died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with the substance at a London restaurant.

The Al-Jazeera investigation, broadcast last week, centred around the testing of some of Arafat's belongings, which had been handed to his wife Suha by the Paris hospital where he died in 2004.

Suha Arafat gave Al-Jazeera permission to take possession of the items, which included clothing Arafat wore in the days before he died aged 75, and hand them over for specialist testing.

Among the experts consulted by the news channel were specialists at the Institute of Radiation Physics at Switzerland's University of Lausanne, which discovered the elevated levels of non-naturally occurring polonium.

Francois Bochud, head of the institute, told the news channel that tests had revealed "significant polonium" in samples that included Arafat's hair and blood.

But to confirm the theory that the Palestinian leader was poisoned by polonium it would be necessary to exhume and analyse Arafat's remains, Bochud said.

"If (Suha Arafat) really wants to know what happened to her husband (we need) to find a sample -- I mean, an exhumation... should provide us with a sample that should have a very high quantity of polonium if he was poisoned," he said.

Suha Arafat has already said she would seek an exhumation to allow specialists to take additional samples for testing, and the Palestinian leadership has said it would be willing to allow exhumation if Arafat's family agreed.

Many Palestinians believe Arafat was poisoned by Israel, which has denied the allegations, accusing Suha Arafat and Palestinian officials of covering up the real reasons for the former leader's death.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss adventurer gains funds for space plane
Raphaël Domjan practising freefall jumping at Realfly. Photo: SolarStratos

Swiss adventurer gains funds for space plane

A Swiss adventurer planning to fly a plane to the edge of space has announced that work to build the SolarStratos aircraft will start in January next year. READ  

Davis Cup tennis finals
Wawrinka praised as key to Switzerland's victory
Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Wawrinka praised as key to Switzerland's victory

Roger Federer was the toast of Switzerland once again as his victory on Sunday gave his country's first ever Davis Cup win, but the tennis great was quick to deflect the spotlight onto team-mate Stan Wawrinka. READ  

Cyclist on runway halts Zurich airport traffic
Photo: Roger Price

Cyclist on runway halts Zurich airport traffic

A 23-year-old cyclist evaded Zurich airport’s costly security system and pedalled onto a runway, bringing air traffic to a halt for around 40 minutes, according to a media report that is embarrassing authorities at the Kloten terminal. READ  

Davis Cup tennis finals
Federer gives Swiss first Davis Cup tennis title
Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Federer gives Swiss first Davis Cup tennis title

Roger Federer gave Switzerland its first Davis Cup tennis title in Lille on Sunday by defeating Richard Gasquet of France in straight sets in the first of the final's reverse singles. READ  

Switzerland bans Dutch poultry imports
Photo: AFP

Switzerland bans Dutch poultry imports

Switzerland is banning chicken imports from Britain and the Netherlands after Dutch officials said they detected bird flu on three more farms. READ  

Nazi-era art bequest to Bern museum challenged
Some of the works from the Gurlitt collection. Photo: DPA

Nazi-era art bequest to Bern museum challenged

A relative of late German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt lodged a claim on Friday for his inheritance, a Nazi-era art hoard which he has bequeathed to a museum in Switzerland's capital, a spokesman said. READ  

Davis Cup tennis finals
Federer loss offsets Wawrinka's win in Lille
Wawrinka won while Federer lost on the first fay of the Davis Cup finals. Photo: Albouy/Palexpo

Federer loss offsets Wawrinka's win in Lille

Gael Monfils stunned Roger Federer in straight sets to leave France and Switzerland level 1-1 after the first day of the Davis Cup tennis finals in Lille on Friday. READ  

HSBC Swiss unit in French tax evasion probe
Photo: AFP

HSBC Swiss unit in French tax evasion probe

HSBC Private Bank, the Swiss subsidiary of British banking group HSBC, said Friday it had been placed under formal investigation as part of a French tax fraud probe. READ  

Swiss Christmas market season set to kick off
Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, outside his Rochers de Naye 'home' overlooking Lake Geneva. Photo: Montreux tourism office

Swiss Christmas market season set to kick off

The season to be jolly in Switzerland is getting under way in earnest on Friday when some of the country’s most famous Christmas markets open for business. READ  

Wealthy Asian donor helps UN news agency
Malaysian financier Jho Low. Photo: Jho Low/Twitter

Wealthy Asian donor helps UN news agency

The Geneva-based UN news agency IRIN said Thursday it was leaving the world body to become an independent non-profit organization thanks to a cash injection from a foundation backed by an Asian billionaire. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Switzerland's Christmas market season gets into full swing
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,992
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description