Posted at 09:11 AM ET, 10/31/2011

Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha, wanted for corruption in Tunisia

Suha Arafat, widow of the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, is wanted by officials in Tunisia on charges of corrruption, Agence France-Presse reports.


Suha Arafat. (Sebastian Scheiner - AFP/Getty Images)
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Arafat, 48, who was a citizen of Tunisia until her citizenship was stripped in 2007.

The corruption charges stem from a 2006 business deal in which Suha and the former first lady of Tunisia, Leila Trabelsi, had a falling-out over an international school that was to be built in Tunis, AFP quoted Tunisian newspapers as saying.

The fall out is believed to have taken place after Suha criticized Trabelsi for shutting down another private school that would have direct competition for their school.

According to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Suha met with the then-U.S. ambassador and spoke out against Trabelsi and Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali . Within months, she was stripped of her citizenship and has reportedly been living in Malta since then.

Suha, who met Yasser Arafat when she was in Jordan working for a French newspaper, once served as her husband’s public relations adviser and then economic consultant. The two were married in a wedding in 1990 that was kept secret for 15 months.

When Arafat was dying in 2004, Suha visited his military hospital in Paris to attempt to talk him out of his coma. At the time, she was sharply criticized by some for trying to prevent PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other officials from visiting her husband. Arafat died in November 2004.

Since Ben Ali was ousted from power in January, several former regime officials have been charged with corruption. The Tunis Court of Appeal issued an arrest warrant against former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi late last week.

By  |  09:11 AM ET, 10/31/2011

Tags:  World, Tunisia, Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

 
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