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Oslo sends cops to DRC after Norwegian dies

20 August 2013, 16:15

Oslo - Norway will send police officers to the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend the autopsy of a Norwegian who died mysteriously in a Kinshasa prison, the government said on Tuesday.

"We have been asked to be present at the autopsy" of Tjostolv Moland, who was found dead in his cell on Sunday morning, foreign ministry spokesperson  Frode Andersen said.

"A team from the criminal police will leave as soon as possible," he added.

The date of the autopsy has not been disclosed.

Moland, 32, and his friend Joshua French, 31, who has dual Norwegian-British nationality, were arrested in DRC in 2009 and sentenced to death in June 2010 after being convicted of killing the Congolese driver of a car they had rented.

The men, both former soldiers, denied the charge and said the driver was killed by bandits. They said they had come to DRC to set up a security firm.

Shortly after their conviction Moland and French wrote to DRC President Joseph Kabila to ask for a pardon or for their death sentences to be commuted to a prison sentence that could eventually be served in Norway.

Moland's father has lashed out at the Norwegian government on his blog, saying it had not done enough to obtain his son's return to Norway.

Oslo meanwhile has said it tried repeatedly to obtain his transfer but was met with silence from Congolese authorities.

No executions have been carried out in DRC since Kabila came to power in 2001, and death sentences have regularly been commuted to life imprisonment.

Penal facilities in the vast country date from Belgian colonial times and are decrepit and overcrowded. Inmates are exposed to disease, dehydration and starvation. Rights groups report that prisoners can die of hunger or torture.



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