The Angolan government has launched a probe into the death of a doctor, Silvio Dala, while in police custody in the country’s capital, Luanda.
Dala, a paediatrician, was reportedly on his way to the hospital last week when he arrested for not wearing a face mask inside his car.
The spokesman for Ministry of the Interior, Waldemar José, said Mr Dala was arrested for violating a presidential decree that made wearing of masks mandatory on public roads and inside vehicles, including private ones.
Failure to comply with this rule is punishable by a fine of 5.000 kwanzas. The doctor was said to have passed out and hit his head on the floor while waiting for someone known to him to pay his fine.
José said the doctor did not suffer any aggression, adding that the paediatrician suffered from a disease, which, according to the autopsy, is the main cause of the physician’s malaise and death
Angola’s Minister of Interior, Eugénio Laborinho, confirmed the opening of the investigation and a criminal process that is pending before the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR).
He said the authorities intend to assess what happened at the police station before the doctor was taken to Prenda Hospital.
Laborinho noted that the probe will also help determine the motivations that would have contributed to the “triggering of the results concluded in the autopsy of the doctor’s body”.
Health Minister Sílvia Lutucuta, in a condolence message, said a criminal proceeding should be opened in order to clarify the real circumstances that led to the doctor’s death and hold any possible offenders accountable.
“The Ministry of Health reiterates its firm commitment to the lives and physical, psychological and moral integrity of doctors and all other health professionals, especially in this particularly challenging time when they are in fact the front line in combating COVID-19,” the statement read.
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