Russia sending experts to exhumation of Yasser Arafat

Wednesday 21 November 2012 17.39
Palestinians hold up posters of former leader Yasser Arafat during ceremonies across the West Bank to mark the eighth anniversary of his death on 11 November 2012
Palestinians hold up posters of former leader Yasser Arafat during ceremonies across the West Bank to mark the eighth anniversary of his death on 11 November 2012

Russia will send forensics experts to help examine the body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat which is due to be exhumed next week.

The exhumation will form part of international attempts to establish whether he was murdered, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, had requested Russia assist in the exhumation due to take place in Ramallah on 26 November.

"They all have high professional expertise and the practical experience to conduct the necessary tests," Mr Lukashevich said.

"They will include members of Federal Medical-Biology Agency and the director of the Russian Centre of Forensic Medical Expertise."

Allegations of foul play have long surrounded the 2004 death of Arafat and the case resurfaced this summer when a Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of radioactive element polonium-210 on his clothing.

Polonium is the radioactive substance found to have killed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, a case that has affected relations between Moscow and the British government.

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