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Monday, November 22, 2004

The Suha soap-opera continues

Suha snatches medical dossier before Arafat's nephew gets it, flees to Tunis

Yasser Arafat's widow took possession of his much-sought medical dossier on Friday. She fled with the files after Palestinian TV broadcast a Friday sermon which threatened her life. She reportedly flew to Tunis in Arafat's jet, defying PA orders. Although the French defense ministry decided Nasser al Kidwa could access information on his uncle's mystery illness, Suha's lawyers claim only his widow can.

Suha Arafat obtained the file from the Percy military hospital in suburban Paris in mid-afternoon, attorney Jean-Marie Burguburu told The Associated Press by telephone.

Burguburu declined to give any details about the content of the file, but said the Palestinian leader's widow was considering whether to release the information to the public.

'The decision is in the process of being examined,' he said. 'The problem is, on the one hand, to try to stop all these false ideas about the death of President Arafat - these rumors.'

'Secondly, it's to make sure that there is not any abnormal exploitation of this medical file,' Burguburu said.

Earlier, Palestinian leaders dispatched an emissary to Paris to pick up the records and promised to make public the cause of Arafat's death.

It wasn't immediately clear how the latest development would affect the mission of the emissary -- Nasser al-Kidwa, Arafat's nephew and also the Palestinian representative to the United Nations. He had confirmed to the AP late Thursday that he would be traveling to France.

French officials insist the law prevents them from making Arafat's medical records public -- but they can give them to family members, who can then reveal information if they wish.
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