Former Angolan ruler Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ body is to undergo a post-mortem examination over suspicions that he may have been assassinated.
Dos Santos – who led Angola with an iron first for 38 years – died in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday (8th July) after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Now a court has ruled that his body cannot be sent back to his homeland until a full autopsy has been carried out.
Relatives claim he fell seriously ill on a return visit to his homeland.
He is said to have revived when he returned to Spain, but worsened again when he was joined by an ex-wife and a medic in the pay of the Angolan army.
His family’s lawyers said: “There are a series of indications that the death of Dos Santos occurred in suspicious conditions.”
One of his daughters – Tchize dos Santos – filed a complaint with Catalonian police and the case is now with the Examining Magistrate’s Court 11 of Barcelona.
Dos Santos’ relatives are claiming that the Government of Angola is putting pressure on the Spanish authorities to repatriate his body to Angola for burial and a state funeral.
Tchize dos Santos has said that it was her father’s wish to be buried in Barcelona, where he had lived since 2019.
Dos Santos died at the private Teknon Medical Centre in Barcelona on 8th July at the age of 79.
Now the Barcelona court has ordered that his body be autopsied and says that it cannot be transferred to Angola until the result is known.
Dos Santos’ relatives believe that the current Government of Angola is behind the former leader’s death.
When Dos Santos voluntarily stepped down from the presidency, the baton was handed to his “trusted friend” Joao Lourenco.
But despite the men’s alleged friendship, JLo – as he is often dubbed in Angola – “declared war” – in the family’s words – on Dos Santos’ inner circle and opened numerous criminal proceedings for corruption against his children.
His family’s lawyers said: “Since then, the family has been suffering strong political persecution ideologically led by the new government of Angola and President Lourenco.”
They added that this was why Dos Santos “chose to go into voluntary exile in Spain in 2019, specifically in the city of Barcelona”.
They said that President Lourenco intends to “simulate a rapprochement and unity with the former president of Angola.
“Specifically, he wants to transfer the body to Angola and give him a funeral with all the honours, thus giving the image of unity desired by the party that currently governs the country.”
The complainant and some of her siblings cannot return to Angola, as the Angolan authorities have denied them the right to renew their passports.
Tchize dos Santos believes that her father’s second wife, Ana Paula dos Santos, wanted to finish off her father.
The couple married in 1991 and separated when Dos Santos stepped down as president in 2017.
She also accuses her father’s Angolan doctor, Dr Alfonso.
The legal complaint states: “It has become known that he is a senior official in the Angolan army, and that he is paid by the current government of Angola”.
The complaint goes on: “After more than two years residing in Barcelona, on 14th September, 2021, Dos Santos returned to his country of origin, Angola.
“During his stay in Angola, Dos Santos’ health, for inexplicable reasons and in a totally unprecedented and surprising way, worsened considerably, turning him into a totally incapacitated old man unable to fend for himself, requiring a wheelchair to move around and requiring permanent assistance.
“Consequently, Dos Santos had to return to Barcelona in March 2022 to continue with strict medical treatment and to be able to have the necessary care, taking with him his ‘trusted’ Angolan doctor, the denounced Dr Alfonso.”
The family claims that the sudden worsening of his health cannot be explained by cancer and says that his health started to improve when he returned to Barcelona – until Ana Paula dos Santos moved there in April.
At one point, the former leader weighed just 45 kilogrammes (7 stone). The complaint says: “The official diagnosis of Dr Alfonso was anorexia nervosa, a diagnosis that the doctors in Barcelona have ruled out.”
The lawsuit is ongoing.