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Russia Rules Out Radiation Poisoning in Arafat Death

Moscow
Russia Rules Out Radiation Poisoning in Arafat Death
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, not radiation poisoning, Russian scientists who examined his remains said today, but their findings were dismissed by Swiss experts as politically motivated.

The conclusions into the Palestinian leader's 2004 death dovetail with the findings of French investigators but differ from those of Swiss radiation experts who maintain he could have been poisoned.

"We have completed all the studies," Vladimir Uiba, head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), told reporters.

"The person died a natural death and not from radiation."

The Palestinians have long suspected that Arafat was poisoned, with some pointing the finger directly at Israel.

Uiba said that his agency had not received any requests from the Palestinians to conduct a repeat examination.

"We've completed an expert evaluation, and everyone agreed with us. Moreover, even the Swiss withdrew their statements and agreed, and the French confirmed our conclusions," Uiba told reporters in comments confirmed by his spokesman.

The director of the Lausanne Radiophysics Institute who examined the samples of Arafat's remains, immediately took issue with Uiba's statement, saying the position of the Swiss experts had remained the same.

"Our point of view has not changed, that's for sure," said Francois Bochud, criticising the Russian experts for not releasing their report.

"The Russians, they make claims without providing any data, without providing any scientific arguments, for me that is empty, a political declaration."

Bochud said the Swiss had not received a copy of the Russian study, and that Palestinian officials who had seen it said the results were similar to the Swiss data.

"But to claim the opposite with same data seems to be really fallacious," he said.

Bochud co-authored a report released in November that found high levels of polonium, up to 20 times the normal level, were found in samples taken from Arafat's body. The report said the findings were consistent with radioactive poisoning without saying conclusively Arafat's death was due to the polonium.

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