Asia-Pacific

Open verdict in death of Malaysia's Teoh Beng Hock

Teoh Beng Hock's mother holds his picture as they leave the courtroom in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur
Image caption Mr Teoh's family has always maintained that the 30-year-old did not kill himself

A Malaysian coroner has recorded an open verdict in the case of an opposition activist who fell to his death from the offices of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2009.

Teoh Beng Hock was said to have committed suicide after being questioned over allegations that his boss had misused public funds.

But a second autopsy was carried out after claims of foul play.

The coroner said there was not enough evidence to prove how he died.

Concluding the inquest, Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas told a court: "I find there are some unsettled issues. I ruled out death of the deceased by way of suicide.

"In the absence of direct facts and evidence of third-party involvement in connection with pre-fall injuries, any conclusion will be as good as guesswork," he said.

Political row

Mr Teoh was questioned in July 2009 as part of an investigation into the government of Selangor state - where Mr Teoh was an aide to a member of the cabinet.

The anti-corruption body said Mr Teoh had been questioned until 0345 local time and then chose to rest in the building after being discharged.

It said he was seen asleep on a sofa at 0600 and was not seen again until his body was discovered later that day.

Mr Teoh's family has always maintained that the 30-year-old, who was due to marry his pregnant fiancee the next day, did not commit suicide.

Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand told an initial inquest that marks on the body suggested Mr Teoh had been tortured and strangled.

After her testimony, Mr Teoh's body was exhumed for a fresh examination.

The BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur says opposition supporters see Mr Teoh as a victim in the drive to look for dirt to pin on their party members.

The inquest was meant to silence those critics, our correspondent says. With an open verdict, Mr Teoh's family and their supporters have called for a review from the High Court and a Royal Commission Inquiry.

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