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Medical Examiner Demonstrates Policeman’s Suicide

January 14, 1986

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An Egyptian medical examiner looped a piece of cloth around his neck Monday to demonstrate to reporters how he thinks policeman Suleiman Khater probably hanged himself.

Mohamed el-Iraqy’s demonstration came in a news conference called in an effort to put to rest speculation in some Arab media that Egyptian or Israeli security men killed Khater.

Khater, 24, was serving a life sentence in the fatal shooting last October of four Israeli children, two women and an elderly man near the Sinai border crossing where he was on guard. Khater was found dead in his prison hospital room last Tuesday, and the government said the case was a suicide.

El-Iraqy’s superior, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Seleem, chief medical-legal officer in the Justice Ministry, released photos that he said showed Khater’s corpse on the floor of his prison hospital room shortly after he was found last Tuesday. The piece of cloth el-Iraqy used in his demonstration was looped around Khater’s neck and tied to a bar of his window, the government maintains.

″We challenge any medical examiner in the world to come to a different conclusion than ours,″ said Seleem, chief pathologist at Khater’s autopsy.

El-Iraqy noted that a semicircular scar on the upper portion of Khater’s neck, which some critics of the autopsy report have charged resulted from strangulation by another person, would have resulted from the manner in which Khater’s body was found hanging.

As for somebody else attaching the cloth and hanging Khater, Seleem said that ″would be very difficult ... unless he was given a sedative or was first electrocuted.″

Seleem said Sunday that tests on samples taken from Khater’s intestinal tract showed it contained no tranquilizers or drugs. He said Monday that tests showed he was not electrocuted, because his blood was not coagulated.

Also on Monday, a judge heard the government’s appeal of another court’s order that Khater’s body be exhumed for a second autopsy by outside doctors at his family’s request. The hearing continued late into the night, and was adjourned until Jan. 18.

Khater’s death provoked student demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and Zagazig, the provincial capital nearest to his home town, and opposition protests against the autopsy report.

Some Egyptian opposition leaders and Arabs outside Egypt portrayed Khater as a hero of the Arab struggle against Israel and a martyr to Cairo’s effort to improve its relations with Tel Aviv.

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