FOREIGN EXPERT CONDUCTS AUTOPSIES ON FIJI SOLDIERS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 8, 2000 - Fiji Times)---Tension arising from the brutal deaths of soldiers killed in last week’s attempted mutiny has forced police to engage the services of an overseas pathologist.

Police yesterday confirmed that Monash University’s Dr. Stephen Cordner’s involvement came as a result of "the pressure put on the government pathologist."

The acting director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Emosi Vunisa, said emotions are running high as stories emerge of how loved ones died, and families are demanding the presence of lawyers and private doctors during postmortem examinations.

He said an independent assessment was crucial to remove all suspicion and doubt.

Dr. Cordner is the director of the Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine.

"We made the decision to bring in Dr. Cordner because of the security risks involved. Also, with the attention the incident has attracted, it is in everyone’s interest that we present an independent report on the cause of the deaths," Mr. Vunisa said.

"Our pathologist made the request because of the mounting pressure, threats to her life and the sensitivity of the whole thing."

Dr. Cordner arrived in the country late yesterday afternoon and will begin postmortem examinations today.

Meanwhile, medical authorities have completed their postmortem of escapee murderer Alifereti Nimacere and have handed the report over to police.

However, officers investigating the cause and circumstances leading to the death of the notorious criminal have declined to reveal details.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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