Post-mortem carried out on British doctor found dead in Syrian jail

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 23, 2013 17:40 EDT
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Members of the Lebanese Red Cross carry the coffin of Abbas Khan, the British doctor who died in a Syrian jail, as it arrives at the Hotel Dieu hospital on Dec. 21, 2013 [AFP]
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One of Britain’s leading pathologists on Monday conducted the post-mortem of Abbas Khan, the British doctor who died in a Syrian jail in disputed circumstances, his family’s lawyer said.

“The post-mortem is either concluded or very near to conclusion, Nabeel Sheikh, senior partner of Neumans law firm, told AFP on Monday.

“I think the decision will probably come tomorrow (Tuesday) or just after Boxing Day (Thursday),” he added.

The results of the autopsy, carried out at the Queen’s Hospital in east London, will be passed to the coroner, who will decide if the results are suspicious enough to warrant a formal inquest.

Syria claims Abbas Khan, who was arrested last year after travelling to Aleppo to treat wounded civilians, committed suicide. But a British minister said this week that he was “in effect murdered” by the regime.

The family has dismissed Syria’s claim that the 32-year-old took his own life just days before he was due to be freed and handed over to a British lawmaker.

Doctor Nat Carey, one of the Britain’s best-known forensic pathologists, was asked by the family to participate in the post-mortem, along with a pathologist from Britain’s interior ministry.

The Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorist command also “afforded its assistance for the post-mortem to be conducted as effectively as possible,” explained Sheikh.

The lawyer on Sunday told AFP that pathologists would be looking for signs of torture on the body.

“The family hopes that all relevant tests as deemed necessary are carried out so as to ensure the post-mortem is concluded without delay and the body laid to rest as soon as possible,” Sheikh said.

Khan’s body was escorted out of Syria on Saturday by the International Committee of the Red Cross and returned to family members waiting in Lebanon.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has written to the doctor’s mother, saying Damascus must answer for his “sickening” death, Sheikh revealed Sunday.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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