Saturday, 17 March 2012

Bones in Mass Grave 100 Years old?

Specialist Biçer doubts the statement that the human bones found in a mass grave in Diyarbakır were a hundred years old. He said that the report of the Forensic Medicine Institute was insufficient and announced to apply for an independent investigation.

The Forensic Medicine Institute recently announced that the 34 skulls found in a mass grave in Diyarbakır were at least a hundred years old.

The excavation was carried out right next to a building that had been used as headquarters of the clandestine gendarmerie's intelligence and counterterrorism unit JİTEM in the 1990s. Excavations in the quarter of Saraykapı had started on 11 January in the neighbourhood of the Diyarbakır Closed Prison and the Courthouse.

The Forensic Medicine Institute announced in a statement, "The determined morphological changes suggest that the bones were lying in the earth for at least one hundred years. One part of the bones belongs to animals. Regarding the human bones no findings were revealed that would clarify the reason of death".

It was also stated that "the bone tissue did not show any probable injuries caused by firearms, cutting or crushing devices or any explosions".

Prof Ümit Biçer, Chairman of the Forensic Medicine Experts Association, claimed to the contrary, "We know that the person's sex and age can be estimated if the skulls were preserved as a whole. Yet, it was announced that not even that was done".

Writer Mıgırdiç Margosyan who is conducting studies about the history of Diyarbakır said that a hundred years ago Armenians lived in this area which is known as "İçkale". "In the 1940s, there were government buildings like the courthouse in the İçkale area", Margosyan indicated.

DNA analysis

bianet asked Prof Biçer for his opinion on the statement of the Forensic Medicine Institute which was released on 28 February. He said that he did not know whether the bones found in the excavation were preserved as a whole. In general, the examination of bones gave information about the age of that person, the gender, height and even if the person was right or left-handed, the expert explained.

"After this evaluation, a DNA analysis is being applied. If the bones were not preserved as a whole it would be more difficult to achieve a sound result from the DNA analysis", Biçer said.
He noted that a DNA analysis with teeth was easier to do and even if the bones were crumbled DNA could still be extracted from the teeth.

"I can only comment on the reported news since I did not see the actual report. The information disclosed is insufficient. Even if the Forensic Medicine Institute does not inform the public, they could share their information with experts on the topic", Biçer said.
He mentioned that the lawyers of the families of the disappeared might apply for an investigation of the findings by an independent delegation. Such a request would not breach the confidentiality of the investigation, he indicated.

Factors that affect the deterioration of bones

"We announced in the beginning of the process that the Forensic Medicine Experts Association or other experts could give an independent opinion and that we could provide for an evaluation of the forensic medicine process".
Biçer emphasized that an evaluation was impossible just by looking at the bones alone. He added:
"Soil properties, humidity, salt and minerals can slow down or speed up the deterioration of bones. Without such an evaluation it is impossible to state that the bones are a hundred years old".

"However, from what was reported to the public it was understood that the investigation remained limited to the analysis of the bones only. It is of course impossible to make a final interpretation before having seen the examination methods, the analysis of the soil and the prepared report", Biçer concluded. (AS)

Diyarbakır - BİA News Center 01 March 2012, Thursday

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KATH to undertake mass burial of unclaimed bodies

Kumasi, March 12, GNA – The authorities of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) had announced the decision to undertake a mass burial of all unclaimed bodies at the hospital's mortuary.

This has been fixed for Monday, March 26, and it is meant to decongest the mortuary to improve the quality of pathological services.

A statement signed by Mr Kwame Frimpong, the Public Relations Officer, in Kumasi, said the affected bodies, some of which had been in the morgue for over six years were brought in by the police and other members of the public.

The identities of majority of these dead persons are unknown and were victims of road traffic accidents.

The rest include those suddenly taken ill or collapsed in public places and brought to the facility by “Good Samaritans.”

The statement said the hospital's morgue was now choked and that the authorities were left with no choice but to bury them in mass grave.

It appealed to people who have not been able to trace their missing relatives to contact the mortuary manager for possible identification before the scheduled date.

GNA - 12 March 2012

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Swedish rescuers find wreckage of crashed plane

Rescuers have found the wreckage of a Norwegian military plane that crashed with five people on board during an exercise in northern Sweden, officials said today.

Parts of the C-130 cargo aircraft were found scattered over a glacier on mount Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain, rescue spokesman Mathias Hansson said.

Four men and one woman — all Norwegians — were on board the plane heading from Evenes, on Norway's Arctic coast, to the Swedish city of Kiruna when it disappeared from radar screens just before 3pm Thursday over the mountain range.

Hansson said the crew had not been found, but "there is nothing that indicates" they had survived the crash.

"There are a lot of wreckage parts spread out over a large area. It suggests it was a major impact," Hansson said.

The plane was participating in a Norwegian-led military exercise with 16,000 soldiers from 14 countries taking part. Rescue helicopters and military aircraft taking part in the drill searched the mountainous area about 50 miles west of Kiruna but were hampered by poor visibility brought on by low clouds, snow and strong winds.

Rescuers searching the area around Kebnekaise on the ground found some small debris Friday, but couldn't confirm whether it came from the missing plane. The wreckage parts were found on other side of the mountain early Saturday, on Rabots glacier, Hansson said, adding that "there is no doubt" that those parts belonged to the missing C-130.

Kebnekaise is Sweden's highest mountain, more than 2,100 metres above sea level.

The Norwegian Armed Forces identified the crew as Lt. Col. Truls Oerpen, 46; Capt. Staale Garberg, 42; Capt. Bjoern Yngvar Haug, 40; Capt. Steinar Utne, 35; and Capt. Siw Robertsen, 45.

Saturday 17 March 2012

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