France hands over file to Arafat's nephew

18th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 22 (AFP) - Nasser al-Qidwa, nephew of Yasser Arafat, was on Monday given a copy of the medical report into the late Palestinian leader's death, the Palestinian representative in Paris Leila Shahid said.

PARIS, Nov 22 (AFP) - Nasser al-Qidwa, nephew of Yasser Arafat, was on Monday given a copy of the medical report into the late Palestinian leader's death, the Palestinian representative in Paris Leila Shahid said.

"The file has been handed over to his nephew by the medical service of the French armed forces," Shahid said.

Qidwa, who is also the Palestinian representative at the United Nations, was to give a press conference at a central Paris hotel at midday (1100 GMT).

On returning to Ramallah he was expected to deliver the report to a Palestinian ministerial council which is looking into the causes of Arafat's death on November 11.

A row has broken out over access to the medical file, with lawyers for Arafat's widow Suha arguing that she alone has the right to see the report and to choose whether to divulge it.

France's strict medical secrecy laws mean that the exact cause of Arafat's death has never been made public, fuelling speculation in the Middle East that he was poisoned.

Suha Arafat received a copy of the report on Friday and then left for her second home in Tunisia, her lawyers said.

A spokesman for the French defence ministry said Saturday that a request from Qidwa to see the report would be answered favourably.

Arafat died in a military hospital outside Paris.

Last week doctors who treated Arafat there were quoted in the authoritative daily Le Monde saying he died of a blood clotting disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

However the doctors said they had not detected the underlying cause of the condition, which could be a viral infection or a cancer. They had looked at the possibility of poison but had ruled it out, they said.

Arafat was airlifted from Ramallah on October 29 and lapsed into a coma on November 3 from which he never emerged. He was declared dead early on November 11.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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