Mozambique 'won't disclose' André Hanekom's autopsy report - not even to family

2019-01-30 09:05
Francis and André Hanekom (File)

Francis and André Hanekom (File)

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The autopsy report on the death of André Hanekom – the South African man who died mysteriously while in custody in Mozambique last week – has been completed.

But, in a surprise move, it was announced that the results would not be disclosed, not even to Hanekom's family.

Mozambican newspaper O País reported on Tuesday that the provincial hospital in Pemba, where Hanekom died on Wednesday last week, had received the results of the autopsy of Hanekom, but said it could not reveal the report, not even to the family. It advised the media to address the provincial attorney's office – the only entity reportedly authorised to disclose the required information.

Believed to have been poisoned

Hanekom died in police custody ahead of his court appearance on charges of terrorism. His family earlier told News24 they believe he had been poisoned.

Hanekom had been arrested in August last year and shot with an AK-47 assault rifle in what initially appeared to be a kidnapping. He had been in and out of hospital since then and was kept in custody, despite two court orders ordering his release.

 

On Tuesday, News24 reported that Hanekom's wife, Francis, had received threats that he would be killed since the beginning of January.

Francis sent screengrabs of threats received in her Facebook inbox to News24 on Monday.

Francis initially received a comment on Facebook from one "Moz High", saying: "You may want to check your messages early, your husband's life depends on it."

'You'll get him in a body bag'

She then received a message in her inbox saying: "So we know your very public display of this has left some very important people sour. You will soon get your husband in a body bag if you don't do the following."

The person then asks for 10 Bitcoin (approximately R463 000), threatening to kill Hanekom if this demand is not met.

"No matter where you go or what you do, we will kill him…"

The family has been trying in vain to have Hanekom's remains brought to South Africa for an independent autopsy.

"We suspect he was poisoned," Hanekom's daughter Amanda told News24 earlier. "We need to confirm this by having blood tests done, but we first need to recover his remains."

Amanda said the family feared Mozambique authorities would incinerate Hanekom's body to "get rid of evidence".

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu directed High Commissioner to Mozambique Mandisi Mpahlwa to engage with authorities there to establish the cause of death, News24 reported last week.

Sisulu requested a feedback report, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

'We are as concerned as the family' - Dirco

Mabaya told News24 that Dirco would receive a report by the high commissioner in Mozambique on Tuesday. "He said he would send [a report] on the preliminary investigation today (Tuesday)."

Mabaya said the high commissioner and law enforcement authorities in Mozambique were busy with their investigations into Hanekom's death.

"When all of that is completed, we will have a complete report of what happened to Mr Hanekom.

"We are as concerned as the family," Mabaya said. "But as government, we cannot speculate."

Suspected jihadist operative

News24 previously reported that Hanekom and two Tanzanians had been arrested on December 31, and were named by Mozambican authorities as allegedly being part of a jihadist group operating in the region. According to AFP, the group faced charges including murder and crimes against the state.

Allegedly, Hanekom had been responsible for the logistics of the group and was shot while trying to resist arrest in August. Weapons were reportedly found at his home.

Francis has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Read more on:    dirco  |  andré hanekom  |  mozambique  |  diplomacy
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