Ver Angola

Politics Death of José Eduardo dos Santos

Former PR died of natural causes and judge decides to hand over body to ex-wife

The judge who decided to hand over the former president's remains to his widow argued that Ana Paula dos Santos has preference over her children in the dispute over the corpse and definitively confirmed death from natural causes.


"The report of July 9, 2022 establishes the type of natural death, cause of death chronic cardiorespiratory failure aggravated by a respiratory infection, chronic ischemic heart disease and pulmonary fibrosis", reads the judge's decision, dated Tuesday and sent this Wednesday to Lusa.

In that decision, Judge Francisco Collado explains that it was only now possible to decide on who to hand over the former President's remains because only now has it been definitively proven that "the report confirms the preliminary conclusions of the autopsy report dated 9 July, which thus become definitive".

After the clarification on the delay of more than a month in the decision, the judge explains why he was right to the former wife of José Eduardo dos Santos, who intends to have the funeral in Luanda, and not to Tchizé dos Santos, who chose Barcelona to bury the father's remains, arguing with his expressed will in life.

"Having some children who want the delivery of the remains to the mother and wife not legally separated, and other children who want the delivery to a daughter from the first marriage, it cannot be the generic term of the son's will to prevail, since the children are divided", says Francisco Collado in the deliberation.

Referring to the jurisprudence of a judgment of the Pontevedra court in 1998, the Spanish judge recalls that preference was given, in the 1998 case, to the living spouse to the detriment of the parents and, therefore, "it seems logical that if the aforementioned precept imposes the obligation to satisfy the funeral expenses of the deceased to those who in life would have the obligation to feed him, and Article 143.1 establishes the spouse as the first obligated party, with preference over the ascendants and descendants of the provider, then it must be understood in a way analogy that it is also the spouse who has the right over the mortal remains of the deceased".

In addition, he adds, there is also a "habit of a social nature" that was presented as an argument in a decision of January 2000, which confirms the existence of a legal gap in this area, but attributes the reason to those who "treated" the deceased while he was alive, in this case, the widow Ana Paula dos Santos.

Regarding the question of whether the remains should remain in Barcelona or go to Angola, Judge Francisco Collado writes that "the regulation on food and social practice assigns the decision on the remains to the widowed spouse" and adds that the widow's will is coincident with the will of the Angolan authorities, who supported the former president's medical expenses.

"A number of allegations have been made to understand that, in this case, the widow's decision to transfer [the body] to Angola is not congruent with the reality of the facts, and on that basis her preference is criticized, however, two elements factual facts that were not rejected lead to the opposite: the deceased's living expenses were paid by the Angolan government, [José Eduardo dos Santos] received visits from Angolan leaders while he was in Barcelona, ​​thus, the decision expressed by the widow to transfer the mortal remains to the country of birth of the deceased is not incongruous and must therefore be respected", concludes the Spanish magistrate.

Tchizé dos Santos, daughter of the former president, will appeal the decision of the Spanish court that gives custody of the corpse to his ex-wife Ana Paula dos Santos, his lawyer told Lusa this morning.

"The decision of the investigating judge number 11 of Barcelona to hand over the body of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos to his former wife will be subject to appeal by Tchizé dos Santos", said lawyer Carmen Varela, explaining that the argument has to do with within the jurisdiction of the court.

"We are going to file an appeal because we understand that the criminal jurisdiction is not competent to deliberate on this matter, which should be the civil jurisdiction to rule on it", argues the jurist, recalling that "there is currently an ongoing process in the civil court on this question".

José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola from 1979 to 2017, died on July 8, aged 79, in Barcelona, ​​Spain, where he has spent most of his time for the past five years.

Two factions of the dos Santos family dispute, in the Family Court of the Civil Court of Catalonia, who will have custody of the body of José Eduardo dos Santos.

On the one hand, there are Tchizé dos Santos and his older brothers, who oppose the delivery of the remains to the former first lady and are against holding a state funeral before the August 24 elections to avoid political exploitation.

On the other, is the widow Ana Paula dos Santos and their three children in common with José Eduardo dos Santos, who also claim the body and want it to be buried in Angola in the near future.


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