PARIS – Yasser Arafat (search)'s nephew arrived in Paris on Sunday to collect the Palestinian leader's medical records, which could explain the cause of his death.
Nasser al-Kidwa, who is also the Palestinian representative to the United Nations (search), would not say when he would collect the records.
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat confirmed that al-Kidwa was in Paris "on behalf of the Palestinian leadership."
"I hope the French will hand him the files" on Sunday or Monday, he said in a telephone call from the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority has promised to make public the cause of Arafat's death on Nov. 11 in a Paris-area military hospital.
A half brother of Arafat, Mohsen Arafat, said Saturday that the Palestinian people are entitled to know what killed their leader.
"Politically, it is the right of the Palestinian people. We are ready to hand over the records to the Palestinian Authority," he told Al-Arabiya television from Abu Dhabi.
Officials in France say medical privacy laws prevent them from making Arafat's medical records public — but they can give them to family members, who can then reveal the information if they wish.
The lack of information about the cause of Arafat's death has fueled rumors in the Arab world, including a rumor Arafat was poisoned. Officials have denied that was the cause of death.
Arafat's widow, Suha, has already taken possession of the medical records, and her lawyer said she is considering whether to release information to the public. She obtained the file from the Percy Military Training Hospital in suburban Paris where Arafat was treated.
French law does not specify how closely related a family member must be to have access to medical information.
Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau reiterated Saturday that French officials have determined that as a nephew, al-Kidwa is allowed access.
"If he asks for the file we will give it to him," said Bureau. "He has as much right to the (records) as any family member."