Germany orders autopsy on Russia critic to preempt 'doubts'

16th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

A German court Tuesday ordered an autopsy on a prominent lawmaker and Russia critic who died at the weekend to head off "conspiracy theories" on the cause of death, a prosecutor said.

Conservative parliamentarian Andreas Schockenhoff, a Russia expert who often strongly criticised Moscow, especially amid the Ukraine crisis, died Saturday at age 57.

The state prosecutor in his electoral district of Ravensburg, Karl-Josef Diehl, said there was no evidence pointing to an unnatural death and also no certainty yet about the cause of death.

Prosecutors had requested an autopsy, which was approved by a court, to preempt any public doubts, given Schockenhoff's previous post as government foreign policy expert, he said.

"If we hadn't done it, then one could expect conspiracy theories, doubts and speculation to surface later," Diehl told AFP. "The question would be, 'Why wasn't an autopsy done?'"

The result of the post-mortem examination was due to be announced Wednesday, Diehl said.

Schockenhoff was deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian allies.

He had coordinated Germany's policy on Russia from 2006 until early 2014, often criticising Moscow for its tough stance on the pro-democracy movement and the protest band Pussy Riot.

Amid the Ukraine conflict, he repeatedly argued for tough sanctions against Russia.

Schockenhoff's CDU had on Sunday announced his death "of natural causes" the previous night in Ravensburg, in southern Baden-Wuerttemberg state.

© 2014 AFP

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