France ready to hand over Arafat file to family

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - France's defence ministry said Friday the medical file on recently deceased Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat was ready and would be handed over to his next of kin "without delay".

PARIS, Nov 19 (AFP) - France's defence ministry said Friday the medical file on recently deceased Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat was ready and would be handed over to his next of kin "without delay".

"We have worked four days on this file. It's ready to be given to the next of kin according to applicable rules," an official at the ministry told AFP.

Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Qidwa, was expected to arrive in Paris from Gaza City later Friday to pick up the file.

Qidwa, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, has been officially designated next-of-kin by French officials alongside Arafat's widow Suha and their nine-year-old daughter.

The cause of death for Arafat has never been elucidated.

Suha, invoking French medical confidentiality laws, has kept a tight grip on information relating to her husband's treatment in a Paris military hospital during his last days.

His ailment, which his doctor and French media reports said involved a blood disorder, was not diagnosed publicly.

The defence ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said medical files usually took up to two weeks to clear before being handed over, but in this case the documents were "ready" immediately.

Arafat, 75, was declared dead at the Percy military hospital on November 11, two weeks after being admitted suffering an illness which left him weak and which ultimately pushed him into an irreversible coma.

With no public announcement of the cause of his death, rumours have spread through the Arab world that Israeli agents poisoned the veteran leader.

Under French law, the family may decide to make the files public.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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