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Inquest opened into death of doctor

The UK authorities are still awaiting post-mortem results for a British doctor who died while in custody in Syria.

The Syrian regime has said Dr Abbas Khan took his own life, although his family are adamant he was murdered.

During the opening of an inquest into the 32-year-old orthopaedic surgeon's death, Chief Inspector Grant Mallon told Walthamstow Coroner's Court the Syrian authorities had stated Dr Khan's body had been found hanging in a jail cell.

Mr Mallon said the ­Syrians had stated Dr Khan was to go before a terrorism court on December 16.

He said the authorities in Damascus had reported he was found hanging when officers went to his cell at 9am.

He told the hearing Syrian doctors had performed a non-invasive post-mortem and determined the cause of death was "asphyxiation by hanging".

The officer said Syrian authorities had determined the death was self-inflicted and said Syrian doctors had found "no traces of violence or torture".

Dr Khan's body arrived at Heathrow airport on December 22 and underwent a CT scan and post-mortem by British doctors at Romford mortuary the next day.

The UK experts had yet to determine a cause of death as results from toxicology tests were still not available, Mr Mallon said.

Coroner Nadia Persaud adjourned the inquest for a review on February 27.

The inquest opening came a day after a funeral prayer service was held for Dr Khan at a packed Regent's Park mosque in London.

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