European Court of Human Rights rules against review of the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death


The European Court of Justice has thrown out an attempt by Yasser Arafat’s widow and daughter to have a case that examined the death of former Palestinian leader who died 17 years ago re-opened again.

As predicted by @NewsEchr the court chaired by a Ukrainian judge decided that his widow’s claIm that there had not been a fair trial in France was ” inadmissible” because it was beyond the power of the court to re-examine the evidence.

Yasser Arafat, who died on 11 November 2004 in France at the Percy Military Hospital where he was being treated following a decline in his state of health at a time when he was in Ramallah, Palestine. On his widow’s request, no post mortem was carried out.

Traces of highly radioactive polonium alleged to be found on Arafat’s belongings

In March 2012 traces of polonium 210, a highly radioactive material, suggesting that Yasser Arafat might have been poisoned, were found on his personal belongings that his widow had recovered after his death. They were entrusted to a journalist from the Al Jazeera television channel, C.S., to be analysed.

On 28 August 2012 the public prosecutor of Nanterre opened a judicial investigation on a charge of premeditated murder

Three investigating judges were appointed and three experts were asked to determine the cause of the decline in Mr Arafat’s health. Their operations took place in the presence of French and Swiss teams, together with a Russian team at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

The French judicial expert’s report concluded that the result of radiological analyses did not prove the existence of exposure to polonium 210. The Swiss report disagreed with the French findings. An additional expert’s report, ordered by the investigating judge, confirmed the findings of the French report.

The dispute began when the applicants wanted to submit another expert report and this was refused by the French judges. This led them to appealing to the European Court of Human Rights because they did not think the trial was fair.

The ECHR said that it couldn’t re-open the case again on a quarrel over the admissibility of evidence, this being primarily a matter for regulation by domestic law. It therefore did not fall within the Court’s remit to substitute its own
assessment of the facts and evidence for that of the domestic courts, its task being to ensure that
the evidence was taken in a manner that guaranteed a fair hearing. The judges ruled the application was “inadmissible” thus ending a long legal fight by his widow and daughter.

4 thoughts on “European Court of Human Rights rules against review of the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death

  1. polonium? i thought it was only the russians who used that to assassinate people, in the ‘official’ version? a claim i always thought was totally absurd to anybody with the ability to actually think…..


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