World / Europe

French court opens inquiry into Arafat death

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-08-29 06:39

PARIS - The court of Nanterre, in the western Paris suburb, opened on Tuesday a murder inquiry into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after his widow claimed the death was caused by poisoning, local media reported.

Prosecutors' investigation came after Suha Arafat asked in July to launch inquiry as new elements revealed the existence of the high toxic polonium-210 on Arafat's belongings, rising doubts that the leader was poisoned, news channel BFMTV said in its report.

"I am delighted. It is the decision that we expected. The probable conclusions would have huge impact. This is one more reason to make them in the context of a rigorous criminal investigation," Marc Bonnant, Suha's lawyer told the local brodcaster Europe1.

"The appraisals made in Switzerland showed ... that Arafat was poisoned. This hypothesis must be verified," he added, expressing concerns over a "complicated and long" investigation.

Arafat died in a Paris military hospital in November 2004.

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