11 April, 2010

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand will not be testifying at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest ?

Renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand will not be testifying at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest when it resumes hearing on April 20 citing “political pressure” from the Malaysian government.

Pornthip told Malaysiakini that she was “advised” by high-ranking officials from the Thai Justice Ministry - where she is director-general of the ministry's Central Institute of Forensic Science - not to go to Malaysia next week for the inquest.

She said the Justice Ministry had received information from the Thai Foreign Ministry that she may face problems should she go, including the possibility of being stopped from entering the country.

According to her, the Thai Foreign Ministry had received “signals” from the Malaysian government through “informal channels” suggesting that her presence at the inquest later this month would not be welcomed.

“It was conveyed to me by certain senior Thai government officials that there has been political pressure from certain Malaysian government circles to block my presence in court, so much so that it might interfere with my current important forensic mission in southern Thailand.”

The Selangor government has yet to decide its next move after confirming that its forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand will not testify in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest when it resume on April 20.

Sources close to the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government only confirmed the news but declined further comment.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Teoh’s family, appeared surprised to hear the news.

“I’m not aware. Just know that there were some issues. I didn’t know she’s pulling out,” he told The Malaysian Insider over the phone this morning.

It is not known if the coroner, Azmil Muntapha Abbas, has been notified of her withdrawal.

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