Europe court refuses to reopen case into Yasser Arafat’s death

A mural depicts Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on his 16th death anniversary in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 11 November 2020 [Abed Rahim Khatip/Anadolu Agency]
A mural depicts Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on his 16th death anniversary in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 11 November 2020

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a case brought by the widow and daughter of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat requesting it reopen an investigation into his 2004 death.

After unsuccessful lawsuits in French courts, Suha and Zahwa Arafat filed a criminal complaint to the ECHR in 2017 claiming the former Palestinian Authority (PA), PLO and Fatah president had been the victim of premeditated murder.

However, in a ruling issued yesterday, the ECHR said there had been no infringement of the right to a fair hearing and the complaint was “manifestly ill-founded”.

The court unanimously declared the complaint inadmissible, according to the Guardian.

Three judges said that after reviewing the case, “at all stages of the proceedings, the applicants, assisted by their lawyers, had been able to exercise their rights effectively”.

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“Judges did not appear to have reached arbitrary conclusions based on the facts before them and their interpretation of the evidence in the file or the applicable law had not been unreasonable,” they added.

In 2015, French judges closed an investigation into claims Arafat was murdered, without bringing any charges. The French court of appeal upheld the dismissal of the case, leading the former leader’s family to take their case to the ECHR.

The couple married secretly in Tunisia in 1990, when Suha was 27 and Arafat 61. Their daughter Zahwa was born five years later.

On 11 November 2004, Arafat died in France, under highly suspicious circumstances, at the age of 75. Until now, doctors have been unable to determine the exact cause of his death.

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly insisted that Israel is behind his death, claims Tel Aviv denies.

(Source / 03.07.2021)

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