France can release Arafat file to ‘eligible parties’

16th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - The medical files of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat can be released upon demand to eligible parties, such as his family, a French defence ministry spokesman told AFP on Monday.

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - The medical files of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat can be released upon demand to eligible parties, such as his family, a French defence ministry spokesman told AFP on Monday.

"If the eligible parties ask for Mr Arafat's file to be transferred, the law, which also applies to military doctors, says the medical file should be released," said spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau.

Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei has asked France to provide him with a medical report detailing the cause of Arafat's death, his office said Monday.

Arafat died in a French military hospital last Thursday at the age of 75 after sinking into a coma, but no information has been released about the exact cause of death.

The Arab world has been abuzz with suspicions that the veteran leader was poisoned, a theory echoed by a number of Palestinian officials.

Most point the finger at Israel, whose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had repeatedly threatened to kill his long time arch foe.

The French defence ministry was unable to say on Monday whether the military hospital had received a request for the release of Arafat's files.

Under French medical secrecy laws, the files of the deceased are not automatically made available, Bureau explained. Family members or other interested parties must make a request explaining why they wish to have access.

Medical files can be released "to uncover the material conditions surrounding a death, or the causes of death," he said.

French officials have insisted there is no reason to suspect poisoning in Arafat's death.

Foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous stressed on Monday that French law, under which the causes of illness and death are a medical secret, "continues to apply" to the veteran leader.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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