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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 01:15 GMT
Body parts furore hits Kyrgyzstan
Dr von Hagens with one of his exhibits
Millions of people have visited the show
A top Kyrgyz medical official has been dismissed over controversy surrounding an international exhibition of preserved human bodies.

Iskandar Aqilbekov was sacked from the Kyrgyz Medical Academy, amid rumours that the bodies in the Body Worlds show - an exhibition of preserved corpses in life-like poses - were obtained illegally in Kyrgyzstan.

The exhibition's organiser Dr Gunther von Hagens says no Kyrgyz bodies were used.

Dr Von Hagens started working at the academy, where he holds the title of honorary professor, in 1996.

The officials reason given for Mr Aqilbekov's dismissal was the low level of training of specialists at the academy, Kyrgyz Pyramid TV reports.

Dr von Hagens had established a laboratory in the institution in Bishkek to experiment with his pioneering preservation technique called plastination.

Another reason given by the Health Ministry for Mr Aqilbekov's dismissal was the activities of the Plastination Centre in the academy. However, the official statement gave no further details.

The BBC's Central Asia correspondent Monica Whitlock says that among the millions of visitors who came to see the Body Worlds exhibition in Japan, South Korea and Europe, a few felt they recognised some of the exhibits as Kyrgyz by their small bone structure and long eyes.

Consent 'unlikely'

At a special parliamentary hearing last month, Dr von Hagens said emphatically that no Kyrgyz were used in Body World.

Colleagues back him up, saying it was impossible to identify a corpse without the skin, still less a body part.

Our correspondent says that Kyrgyz are Muslim and it is almost impossible to imagine them giving dead family members for preservation, let alone for display.

There have been allegations that bodies obtained in Russia without the permission of the deceased or their families were sent to an institute in Germany run by Dr von Hagens.

He told the BBC that he had acquired the corpses by legal means.

The plastination professor
20 Nov 02  |  Health
Corpse show not illegal
20 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Russians charged over body parts
20 Jul 02  |  Europe
Businessman donates body to art
25 Nov 02  |  England


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