Autopsy in Spain for ex-Angola president amid foul play claims

In this file photo taken on August 19, 2017 Angolan President and The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos acknowledges the crowd during the closing campaign rally in Luanda. PHOTO / AFP

What you need to know:

  • Dos Santos, who ruled Angola between 1979 and 2017, had lived in Barcelona since April 2019.
  • His 44-year-old daughter -- whose full name is Welwitschia dos Santos -- swiftly demanded the hospital retain his body "until an appropriate autopsy is carried out."

An autopsy has been carried out on in Spain on former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died last week in Barcelona, at the request of one of his daughters who suspects foul play, her lawyers said Monday.

The results of the autopsy are not yet available, a spokesperson for Tchize dos Santos' lawyers said.

A Barcelona court authorised the post-mortem on Friday, the day of his death, a court spokeswoman said.

Dos Santos, who ruled Angola between 1979 and 2017, had lived in Barcelona since April 2019.

The 79-year-old was taken to hospital and placed in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest on June 23. 

His 44-year-old daughter -- whose full name is Welwitschia dos Santos -- swiftly demanded the hospital retain his body "until an appropriate autopsy is carried out."

She said in a statement on Saturday there were "a series of signs" that her father's death occurred under "suspicious circumstances".

Tchize has filed a legal case in Spain against the former Angolan president's widow, Ana Paula, and his personal physician for "attempted murder".

The complaint also includes allegations relating to "failure to exercise a duty of care, injury resulting from gross negligence and disclosure of secrets by people close to him," her lawyers said in a statement on Friday.

Tchize claimed her father and his wife had been separated for some time, meaning that his spouse had no right to make decisions about his health. 

Police confirmed receiving the complaint and said they had opened an inquiry. 

Tchize also argues her father wanted to be buried privately in Spain and not in Angola in a state funeral "which could favour the current government" in the former Portuguese colony.

Born in the slums of Luanda, dos Santos was one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

Critics say he used his nation's oil wealth to enrich his family while leaving his people among the poorest on the planet.

When he stepped down, dos Santos handed over to former defence minister Joao Lourenco whom he had handpicked to succeed him. 

But Lourenco quickly turned on his erstwhile patron, starting an anti-corruption drive to recoup the billions he suspected had been embezzled under dos Santos.

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