Swiss expert dismisses Russian 'political declaration' on Arafat
GENEVA (AFP) - The Swiss expert who examined samples of Yasser Arafat's remains dismissed as a "political declaration" a statement Thursday by Russian researchers excluding radiation poisoning as the cause for the Palestinian leader's death.
"The Russians, they make claims without providing any data, without providing any scientific arguments, for me that is empty, a political declaration," said Francois Bochud, director of the Lausanne Radiophysics Institute.
Vladimir Uiba, the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday that Arafat "died a natural death and not from radiation." Bochud criticised the Russians for not releasing their report.
Bochud was the co-author of a report released on Nov 7 that found high levels of polonium, up to 20 times the normal level. It said the findings were consistent with radioactive poisoning without saying conclusively that Arafat's death was due to the polonium.