A Spanish court on Friday refused to release the body of Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos to his family and ordered more tests after his daughter claimed foul play, APA reports citing AFP.
Dos Santos, who ruled Angola with an iron fist between 1979 and 2017, had lived in Barcelona since April 2019. The 79-year-old died on July 8 in Barcelona after he was placed in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest on June 23.
A top court in Catalona said in a statement it "does not agree to make the body of Mr dos Santos, the ex-president of Angola, available to the family".
"Although the preliminary autopsy report says his death was natural, the magistrate has agreed to additional tests, since there was a complaint made about threats to the individual", it added.
The court said his remains would not be released before the test results or while it remained unclear which relative they should be handed over to for burial.
It added the investigation took precedence over the family's right to recover the body.
Dos Santos' 44-year-old daughter, whose full name is Welwitschia dos Santos, has filed a legal case in Spain against the former Angolan president's widow, Ana Paula, and his personal physician for "attempted murder".
An autopsy was carried out at her request after she said her father died under "suspicious circumstances". She opposes his body's return to Angola.
His lawyers said the former leader wished "to be buried in Spain" and not in his home country "with a state funeral that would favour the current government" of Joao Lourenco.
When he stepped down in 2017, dos Santos handed over to Lourenco whom he had handpicked to succeed him. But he quickly turned on his erstwhile patron, unleashing an anti-corruption drive that has targeted the former president's family.
The preliminary results of the autopsy indicate dos Santos died of "natural causes", with problems of "heart failure" and a "pulmonary infection", a source close to the matter told AFP this week.
Recall that Santos studied at the current Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University (ASOIU) in 1963-1969.