What Killed Arafat?

Number 25574
Subject Politics
Source Al Jazeera English
State Al Jazeera
Year 2012
Publication Date 07/03/2012
Summary This 50-minute film was the result of a nine month long cold case investigation into the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat, Palestine's iconic, revolutionary leader. After obtaining Arafat's entire original medical files, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, led by producer and reporter Clayton Swisher, crossed continents to track down and interview the French, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian doctors who had worked to save Arafat's life. Part I of "What Killed Arafat?" was able to easily shatter popular myths about what caused Arafat's precipitous decline from the onset of his illness on October 12, 2004 until his death on November 11th. Testimony from Arafat's doctors conclusively ruled out liver cirrhosis, cancer, even rumors of HIV. The scientific, evidence-based discoveries made in the Part II result from the work performed by a team of forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and radiation physicists from the University Center for Legal Medicine and Institute for Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland. Working without payment, they agreed to run a battery of sophisticated tests on a large gym bag containing Arafat’s last personal effects. The scientists discovered significant levels of reactor-made Polonium 210 contaminating areas of Arafat's personal effects that came into contact with his biological fluids. When the final results came back in late June, Al Jazeera hosted Mrs. Arafat in Doha to watch the Swiss explain the results on set. Upon witnessing their testimony, Ms. Arafat made a resolute, unanticipated surprise announcement, calling on the Palestinian Authority to exhume her husband's body for testing. Yasser Arafat’s body was exhumed on November 27, 2012 so that the final samples could be retrieved. Whether the causes of Arafat's death are determined to be natural, inconclusive—or even murder—suffice it to say that Al Jazeera’s "What Killed Arafat?" and the resulting investigations and exhumation will have inched the world closer to understanding what did not, and possibly for the first time, what did claim the life of this historic and controversial personality.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords Science; death; biology; investigation; exhumation; testing
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