Tuesday, 1 February 2011
WikiLeaks: Yasser Arafat's widow punished by Tunisia after Gaddafi's intervention
The president’s decision in 2007 to revoke the citizenship of Mrs Arafat, who had lived in Tunisia since the death of her husband in 2004, was never explained, and prompted endless speculation in the Arab world.
One possible explanation was detailed in a confidential message to Washington from the US Embassy in Tunis in November 2007.
In a phone call to Robert Godec, the US ambassador, Mrs Arafat, 47, “was not shy in sharing stinging criticism of President Ben Ali, the First Lady, and the web of corruption that she says surrounds them”.
She did not know why Mr Ben Ali, who fled Tunisia earlier this month following a popular revolt, had withdrawn her Tunisian citizenship, which had only been granted a year earlier.
But one “well-connected” source told US diplomats: “What sealed Mrs Arafat's fate was that on a recent visit to Tripoli, she had asked Libyan Leader Gaddafi for money.