THE body of a British doctor who died in custody in Syria has been flown back to the UK and will undergo a post-mortem examination.
Dr Abbas Khan, 32, was on the verge of being released when his family were told of his death.
His relatives have said he was the victim of a political murder, but the Syrian government have called his death suicide.
The orthopaedic surgeon from London was captured in November 2012 in the ancient city of Aleppo after travelling from Turkey to help victims of hospital bombings.
Nabeel Sheikh, solicitor for Dr Khan’s family, issued a statement which read: “Dr Khan’s family would like to thank everyone for their help and support. The family are relieved that his body has been repatriated. Dr Khan is being transported by ambulance to the Coroner’s Court in Walthamstow for the purposes of a post-mortem.
“The family hopes that all relevant tests as deemed necessary are carried out so as to ensure the post-mortem is concluded without delay and the body laid to rest as soon as possible.
“The Home Office is organising the process but, as a matter of course, Scotland Yard is actively involved given the circumstances surrounding Dr Khan’s death are highly suspicious.
“Our thoughts are with the family. The immediate priority is to give the family privacy and enough support as necessary to help them through this difficult time.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took the body from Damascus to the Lebanese capital Beirut, where it was received by his mother Fatima Khan and British officials.
Mrs Khan, who has ‘’110 per cent’’ refuted claims that he committed suicide, broke down in tears when the coffin arrived.
‘’The national security intelligence of Syria, they killed him!’’ she screamed. ‘’They’re murderers!’’
She categorically denied claims that he had killed himself and in the last few days the family revealed a letter in which the doctor expressed his optimism at being home in time for Christmas.