July 21, 2015 / 4:28 PM / 2 years ago

French prosecutor recommends closing Arafat death Inquiry

Palestinian Fatah supporters wear a T-shirt and hold a poster depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a rally marking the tenth anniversary of his death, at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City November 11, 2014.Suhaib Salem

PARIS (Reuters) - A French prosecutor recommended on Tuesday the closing of an investigation into the death in France of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose widow alleged he was poisoned.

Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord with Israel but led an uprising after subsequent talks broke down in 2000, died aged 75 in a French hospital in 2004.

The official cause of death was a massive stroke, but French doctors said at the time they were unable to determine the origin of his illness. No autopsy was carried out.

His widow, Suha Arafat, has argued the death was a political assassination by someone close to her husband. But French forensic scientists concluded in 2013 that Arafat had not been the victim of poisoning.

"We have requested that the case be dismissed," the prosecutor's office told Reuters.

French magistrates must now decide on whether to follow the prosecutor's advice on the probe opened in August 2012.

Arafat died four weeks after falling ill after a meal, suffering from vomiting and stomach pains. At the demand of his widow, his remains were exhumed in 2012 and examined separately by French, Russian and Swiss experts.

The Swiss reported their results were consistent with but not proof of poisoning by reactive polonium. The French concluded he did not die of poisoning and Russian experts were reported to have found no traces of polonium in his body.

Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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