Spanish court allows autopsy of former Angolan leader dos Santos

Jose Eduardo Dos Santos inspects honour guards in Beijing, June 9, 2015. [Reuters]

A Spanish court has ruled that an autopsy be performed on the body of Angola's former president José Eduardo dos Santos who died in a clinic in Barcelona on Friday at the age of 79, a court spokeswoman said on Monday.

She said the court had granted the request of a family member for the autopsy, which was yet to take place, but provided no further details.

The Carmen Varela family law firm representing dos Santos' daughter Tchizé dos Santos, said earlier she had asked for her father's body to be kept in Spain for a full autopsy due to alleged "suspicious circumstances of his death", without providing evidence.

According to the office of Angolan President João Lourenço, his predecessor, who stepped down five years ago, died at the Teknon clinic in Barcelona, where he was being treated following a prolonged illness. The clinic declined to comment on the request for an autopsy or the details of his death. 

Jose Eduardo dos Santos addresses supporters outside the capital Luanda, August 29, 2012. [Reuters]

He had been receiving medical treatment since 2019 and Portuguese news agency Lusa reported in June he was in intensive care in Barcelona, citing a source close to him, as the Angolan government said the former leader had suffered a deterioration in his health. 

Tchizé and her lawyers also argue that dos Santos' wish was to be buried in Barcelona rather than his body being returned to Angola for a state funeral.

Despite being handpicked by dos Santos to succeed him, Lourenço swiftly moved to investigate allegations of multi-billion-dollar corruption during the former president's era, often involving the dos Santos family.

Dos Santos, who said in a rare 2013 interview he would like to be remembered "as a good patriot", never specifically responded to the allegations that he had allowed corruption to become rampant.