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Former chief justice says exhuming Arafat's remains " hurts his spirit"

11-27-2012 21:58 BJT Special Report:Arafat’s Remains Exhumed for Posion Tests |

RAMALLAH, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, former Palestinian Chief of Justice, said on Tuesday in a special interview with Xinhua that the idea of exhuming the remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "hurts his spirit exactly as if hurting him alive."

"After eight years of his death, opening his grave and taking samples of his remains are hurting the body, which equals hurting him as if he is still alive," said Tamimi, who was responsible for washing Arafat's body right after he died and was the last one who saw the body before the grave was closed in 2004.

Tamimi also said that "it will be very difficult to resolve the mystery of Arafat's death by only taking samples of his remains, because if we assume that he was poisoned, may be the poison hasn' t reached the sample they took today from his remains."

The former chief of justice told Xinhua that "everyone knows who killed Arafat. It was a fact that Israel was behind getting rid of him. Therefore, instead of hurting the remains, the body and the spirit of Arafat, they should immediately go to the court and sue Israel."

Tamimi revealed that Arafat gave him a will before he died, in which Arafat said that if he dies, he would like to be buried in Jerusalem.

Tamimi, who accompanied Arafat to Paris, said he was certain that Arafat was poisoned.

"I still remember the last scenes of Arafat when he was dying in the hospital in Paris. His body was bleeding until the last hour of his death, mainly the areas of head and face with the presence of red and blue spots on his hands, legs and thighs," said Tamimi.

Tamimi also said that the symptoms of Arafat's illness appeared three months before he died.

"In the beginning, Arafat was trying to resist. He was always telling me that he suffered from a severe flu, but slowly, his health began to deteriorate until he started throwing up his food, which caused a heavy exhaustion in his body," said Tamimi.

He added that when Arafat was conscious, he sit on his chair receiving visitors until late night. "I noticed that his health was deteriorating more and more. At the end, we were obliged to call doctors from Egypt and Tunisia, who advised him to have urgent medical treatment abroad."

Tamimi said that Arafat knew that he was very sick, "but in the beginning, he refused travelling abroad for medical treatment." He added that "Arafat told me 'they want to get rid of me... I want to die in Palestine and I want to be buried in Palestine.'"

Tamimi said that in October 2004, when Arafat's health deteriorated, he was admitted at Percy Hospital in Paris in October 29.

Tamimi also revealed that the hospital in Paris refused him in the beginning to accompany Arafat in his room, adding "but I told them that I was a Muslim Cleric and he needed me to be beside him. Arafat at that moment was unconscious and I spent the last days reading to him Quran verses."

He said that on Nov. 11, 2004, at predawn, the hospital declared Arafat's death at the age of 75 years old. "After Arafat passed away, I washed his body following the Islamic law. While I was washing the body, I was shocked to see blood coming out of his head."

"I asked the doctors about the reason. A doctor told me that this was due to some kinds of poison that fight blood clotting and caused severe bleeding," said Tamimi, adding that the body was then brought for burial in Ramallah.

The grave in Ramallah was built easy to open, so that they could move Arafat's remains to Jerusalem in future. Tamimi said he was with Arafat until the last moment the body was placed into the grave. "I put into his grave sands I brought with me from Jerusalem," he added.

"I looked at his face into the grave and he looked very good and clean. I didn't ask for an autopsy because I was totally convinced that Arafat was poisoned, and at that time a serious political decision was needed to test the fresh body and get the evidence for Arafat's death."

Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi was one of the closest friends to Arafat and stayed very close to him, mainly during an attack on the headquarters in Ramallah in 2001. On Tuesday, Palestinian and international experts opened the grave and took samples of Arafat's remains to test the reason behind his death.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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