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Saturday, 10 July 2010

SWAZI ACTIVIST’S DEATH ‘NOT SUICIDE’

Democracy activist Sipho Jele, who supposedly hanged himself on a beam while in custody, was found completely suspended from the ground, but there was nothing nearby for him to stand on to get the rope around his neck.


And it was impossible for him to tie the rope around his neck while seated on the beam and then throw himself down for the rope to tighten around his neck.


Doubts that Jele committed suicide were voiced by independent Specialist Forensic Pathologist Dr. Ganas Perumal at the continuing inquest into the death of Jele.


According to a report in the Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, Perumal said, ‘In this case there is no evidence of being hung. The perplexing thing is how he got suspended as there was no object on which he stood. In most cases the object is kicked away for the body to remain suspended. There was no such object that was found. That is the only feature that doesn’t confirm suicide. It is an enigma how he hung without standing on an object.’


Questioned by attorney Leo Gama on whether it was possible that Jele had tied the rope around his neck while seated on the beam he was found hanging from, and then threw himself down for the rope to tighten around his neck, Dr. Perumal entirely ruled out this possibility.


‘In that case there would be stretching of the skin and moreover there would be problem with the spine. Looking at the findings, we can exclude that scenario. There are no features to suggest that,’ he said.

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