'Tunisia issues arrest warrant for Arafat's widow, Suha'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 31, 2011 14:00

Tunisian Justice Ministry spokesman tells AFP Yasser Arafat's wife is wanted on corruption charges; Tunisian citizenship was revoked in 2007.

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Widow of Yasser Arafat, Sufa Arafat [file]

Widow of Yasser Arafat, Sufa Arafat 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Suha Arafat, widow of late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, is wanted by officials in Tunisia for alleged corruption, AFP reported on Monday.

Tunisian Justice Ministry spokesman Kadhem Zine al Abidine told the French news agency that a warrant was issued for the 48-year-old Arafat, who was a citizen of Tunisia, until her citizenship was stripped in 2007.

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The allegations go back to a 2006 business deal, when Suha Arafat had a fallout with former first lady of Tunisia over the establishment of an international school in Tunis, AFP quoted Tunisian newspapers as saying.

In 2007, Suha was declared persona non grata in Tunisia and had her citizenship revoked, reportedly by presidential decree. Suha was reported to be living in Malta, at least several months a year, where she owns a home.

Since the ouster of former Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, a number of former regime officials have been charged with corruption.

Suha was raised as a Catholic in Ramallah and Nablus and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Suha met Yasser Arafat when she was on assignment in Jordan for a French newspaper. She was immediately appointed as a public relations adviser to the PLO and later as an economic consultant to her husband. The two married secretly in 1990 at Arafat's house in Tunisia and kept the wedding secret for 15 months.

She drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians when she tried to prevent senior PA officials, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, from visiting her husband while he was being treated in a military hospital in Paris.


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