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Coroner says jailed suspected killer died of arsenic poisoning

BBC Worldwide Monitoring
Vision of IRI - Iran

As you have heard in the news, one of the agents of the recent suspicious killings, named Sa'id Emami, has committed suicide. In order to clarify the matter and provide you with more information, the correspondents from the Central News Unit talked to the coroner and the doctor who, with his colleagues, made an extensive effort to save Sa'id Emami's life.

[First correspondent] Dr Pezhumand, as one of the doctors trying to save Sai'd Emami, can you tell us when were you informed that the patient was transferred to hospital? And when were you needed at the hospital?

[Pezhumand] On Wednesday 26th Khordad 1378 [16th June 1999], I was informed that a patient named Sa'id - suffering from poisoning as a result of consuming cleansing agent - has been admitted to the emergency unit at the hospital.

[Q] Following your diagnosis, what symptoms did you notice in Emami?

[A] The patient, at the time of his transfer to hospital, was suffering from severe pain and was distressed. The signs around his lips, mouth and the cavity of his mouth showed that he had taken cleansing agent. Saliva was flowing from the patient's mouth. He was feeling sick, wanted to vomit and was suffering from pain in the tube [oesophagus] leading to his digestive system... We tried hard to stop the damage incurred by the cleansing agent.

[Q] Dr, I would like to ask you what special actions did you take to reduce Sa'id Emami's pain?

[A] Considering the sensitivity about the patient - which was passed to us in the middle of our diagnosis by the judiciary and security officials - we formed a team of doctors composed of specialists for internal problems, lungs, infections and surgery. This team worked very hard to save the patient's life. The team even took action and prepared itself for extensive surgery, should it be required. Unfortunately, owing to the severity of damage in the paths leading to the digestive system, Emami died on Saturday [19th June] at about 0900 [0430 gmt] 29th Khordad 1378 [19th June 1999]. And we transferred the body to the coroner's office for autopsy and for announcing the final decision on the cause of death.

[First correspondent] Thank you, my colleague will be interviewing Dr Tofiqi, the head coroner.

[Second correspondent] It has been said that one of the people involved in the recent chain killings has committed suicide in prison. Please tell us the result of the examination by the coroner's office?

[Coroner] On Saturday 29th Khordad 1378, the body was transferred to the coroner's office for examination. Of course, the file from the hospital together with the body was transferred to the coroner's office. We examined the file. However, the examination of the body is more important as far as the coroner is concerned...

Yesterday afternoon, we received the result of the tests from the laboratory and the death is due to poisoning by arsenic, the effective ingredient in the cleansing agent. And it [arsenic] was positive and very strong. And we are in no doubt that the cause of death, Emami's death, was due to poisoning by arsenic.


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