Litigation over the remains of the 'King of Angola'

A corpse, ten days and a merciless battle.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
16 July 2022 Saturday 19:48
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Litigation over the remains of the 'King of Angola'

A corpse, ten days and a merciless battle. The death on July 8 in Barcelona of the former president of Angola Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the former Portuguese colony with an autocratic fist for 38 years, from 1979 to 2017, has unleashed an underground war for the mortal remains of the politician between the children with his first wife and the Angolan government, supported by the children of the second marriage. The Angolan government wants to transfer the body of the former head of state to the country to give a funeral with all the honors to a man "patrimony of the Nation", as the current president, Joâo Lourenço, described him, and has sent a diplomatic delegation this week , led by the attorney general of the African country, to unblock the matter. But it won't be easy.

One of the daughters of Dos Santos's first marriage, Tchizé, refuses to allow the body to be taken because she assures that her father's last will, not written in any will or document, was to be buried in Spain, where he had lived for a long time. three years. The woman reported to the Mossos d'Esquadra the existence of a plan to end the life of her father. The complaint was filed when the former president was still seriously hospitalized at the Teknon clinic in Barcelona. After her death, the daughter requested an autopsy whose preliminary results, pending the toxicological reports, do not show any indication that the death occurred due to an intentional cause.

In any case, the head of the investigating court number 11 of Barcelona, ​​Francisco González Maillo, has on the table, at the moment, two requests to appear in the case. That of the daughter Tchizé and that of the second wife of the president, Ana Paula, who, through the lawyer Josep Riba of the Cuatrecases office, is litigating so that the remains of the president are buried where, this fraction of the family assures, it was always the will of the politician: "rest eternally in Angola".

The judicialization of the case, pending the actions determined by the magistrate, keeps the remains of Dos Santos stranded in a cold room of the Forensic Anatomical Institute of Barcelona. Despite the announcements from Angola of an imminent arrival of the body in Luanda, the daughter's lawyers warn that the body will not move from Spain while the court case remains open.

The judge awaits the results of the laboratory tests, which require time, to see if there is any evidence that validates the prosecution's thesis in the sense that the former president suffered neglect in his care that precipitated his degeneration and death. It will not be easy. Neither is keeping the case, with the number of political and diplomatic interests that intersect, outside the strictly criminal case and that should elucidate whether the degradation of the man was intentionally forced for political purposes.

Political motivation and a long enmity are at the root of the disagreement. After being appointed by Dos Santos as his successor in 2017, President Lourenço went from being the dauphin of his political father to leading an anti-corruption campaign against the ultra-millionaire sons of the former president. For Tchizé, the proximity of disputed elections on August 24 pushes the Angolan leader to want to politically use the figure of his father in a state funeral that appears to be a "false unity".

Tchizé is convinced that people close to her father conspired against him to trigger his death and prevent him from showing his political support for the opposition leader. Accompanied by lawyers from the Carmen Varela, Family Lawyers and Molins Criminal Defense offices, she asked the judge to investigate, in addition to an attempted murder attempt, the crimes of omission of the duty of assistance, injuries due to serious negligence and revelation of secrets from people close to his father. She points to her second wife, Ana Paula, and her personal doctor, Joao Afonso, whom she blames for deteriorating her father's health. The daughter refers in the complaint to a trip in September in which Dos Santos worsened, becoming an elderly man unable to fend for himself, requiring a wheelchair and requiring permanent help. In six months he lost 30 kilos.

From Angola, the people attend the fight with bewilderment. In its editorial, the Jornal de Angola charged against the entire family but asked for an agreement. “It is false to think that something is gained with this spectacle of relatives, at a time when a dialoguing attitude and a conciliatory position could be expected, even if it is only due to the duel, which intends to ignore the full dimension of the former president. Dos Santos deserves a state funeral and every gesture to the contrary damages his memory. There is weighting”.

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