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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Maldives man 'was not tortured'
By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Colombo

Protesters in the Maldives
Hussain Salah's death sparked protests in the Maldives
An independent autopsy in Sri Lanka has found no sign of torture on the body of a Maldives opposition supporter whose death sparked protests.

Hussain Salah's body was found near the capital, Male, a week ago.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said Mr Salah had been killed in police custody.

The procedure was carried out in Sri Lanka at the request of the dead man's family. The preliminary report showed that the cause of death was drowning.

Physical violence was ruled out.

'Not satisfied'

The government of the Maldives says the autopsy proves that Mr Salah was not killed by the police, as the opposition has been maintaining for a week.

And the preliminary report showed that the cause of death was drowning.

When Mr Salah's body was found floating in a lagoon last Sunday, the MDP said he had been murdered in custody and dumped.

Several people were arrested in protests that followed.

But the police maintained the dead man had been released unharmed 36 hours earlier.

And the post mortem report showed the injuries might have happened while he was in the water.

The MDP says it is not satisfied by the investigations - saying the sequence of events that led up to the drowning has not been established.

The opposition and the government are at loggerheads in the Maldives where political parties have been allowed only since 2005.

The MDP accuses President Mamoun Abdul Gayoom, in office since 1978, of dragging his feet on reforms in an attempt to hold on to power.

Row over Maldives 'custody' death
16 Apr 07 |  South Asia
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09 Nov 06 |  South Asia
Maldives dissident rejects pardon
16 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Key Maldives dissidents arrested
02 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Maldives dissident denies crimes
19 May 05 |  South Asia
Maldives defends prison terms
26 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Country profile: The Maldives
18 Jan 03 |  Country profiles
Timeline: The Maldives
07 Aug 02 |  Country profiles

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