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Chilean judge mulls exhuming Pablo Neruda's body

IANS  Santiago, September 25, 2012
First Published: 12:09 IST(25/9/2012) | Last Updated: 12:24 IST(25/9/2012)
The judge investigating the death of poet Pablo Neruda Monday directed experts to prepare new reports to help him determine whether to allow the body of the Nobel laureate, who died 39 years ago, to be exhumed.
 
Specialists from the University of Chile will have to determine if the exhumation is necessary, Judge Mario Carroza told reporters.
 
This, despite an Aug 30 report from the medical examiner's office that pointed to prostate cancer as the proximate cause of Neruda's Sep 23, 1973, death.
 
Neruda had suffered from cancer for several years before he died and for a long time the official version said that the disease was what caused his death 12 days after the coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
 
However, doubt was cast on that account in 2011 when Neruda's former driver, Manuel Araya, said that an injection the poet received a few hours before he died had killed him, suggesting that the Pinochet regime might have murdered him.
 
That version led the Communist Party, in which Neruda had been active, in May 2011 to file a criminal complaint forcing the opening of an investigation.
 
Experts from the University of Chile "are going to present a working plan and they should lead us to a conclusion ... At least, they would have to determine whether or not there is a need for the poet's exhumation", Judge Carroza told reporters.
 
"The important thing is that it could add (to the investigation) the French medical results," he said, referring to a request sent to France in June for information about Neruda's health in the years prior to his death, when he was the Chilean ambassador in Paris.

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