Sunday, October 25, 2009

Teoh's family to request for exhumation and second autopsy


MALACCA: Teoh Beng Hock’s family will request for his body to be exhumed, enabling a second autopsy to be carried out by Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

Gobind Singh Deo, lawyer for Teoh’s family said an application for the exhumation and second autopsy would most likely be filed in court on Monday.

“The family is very concerned,” he told a press conference at Teoh’s family home in Alor Gajah on Sunday.

“They want to find out exactly what happened to Teoh.”

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, had last week, told the inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock that there was an 80% probability his death was a homicide.

She said it was only a 20% probability that Teoh had committed suicide.

Dr Pornthip also testified that the marks on Teoh's neck looked like he had been manually strangled.

The Selangor government had invited Dr Pornthip, the director-general of Thailand's Ministry of Justices Central Institute of Forensic Science, to give her expert opinion.

Lee Lan, 29, Teoh's younger sister and the family spokesperson said on Sunday that they had agreed to the exhumation following discussions with their legal counsel.

She said the family would also carry out a traditional Chinese ritual as a sign of respect and to appease Teoh’s soul before the body is exhumed.

She said the family was initially uneasy about exhuming her brother’s body.

“Actually, if it is possible, we don’t wish to do this but in this case, we are determined to find out the truth,” she said, adding that the family decided to give the go ahead to their lawyer Gobind Singh Deo to file the necessary court papers.

Besides the legal aspects, she said her family had also discussed the need to carry out the pre-exhumation rituals according to Chinese customs and beliefs.

“We (the family) will attend the exhumation as we have to take part in the ritual ceremony prior to it,” she said.

According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the soul of a departed is said to come back, sometimes, and visit the family either through dreams or as an apparition.

Teoh’s family claimed that he had appeared to several relatives in their dreams on the day after rituals to mark the 7th and 49th day of his death.