Jiah Khan’s death had come as quite a shock to most people three years ago. And while the police and medical examiner ruled it a case of suicide, many among us never quite bought that story. There were too many holes in the narrative, too many things didn’t add up.
Jiah’s mother, Rabia, has always maintained that Jiah’s death was a murder . When the Indian authorities refused to pay heed to her many pleas, she hired a British forensic expert to analyze the evidence. UK-based forensic expert Jason Payne James’ report might be submitted in the High Court in a case between Rabia Khan and the CBI.
The new forensic findings, which directly contradict the findings of Indian experts, indicate that Jiah’s suicide was staged and the marks on her neck and face don’t support the official theory of her death being a suicide. Rabia Khan plans to share these new findings with the court on Wednesday.
Here are the discrepancies between the initial and the latest forensic analyses:
1. The marks on Jiah’s lower lip were explained away as “friction with the teeth during the commission of the act [suicide]”. The new analysis states that these marks are, in fact, bruises/abrasions that could only be a result of blunt force trauma, i.e. if she had been punched, or if her mouth was forcibly held shut. 2. The marks on her neck were believed to have been “caused due to slippage of ligature material [dupatta] slightly downwards or the ligature knot present at that site”. The new report says that a dupatta
could not have left such a well-defined mark.
3. The new report also rubbishes the earlier report that the marks on her jaw were the results of multiple knots on the dupatta.
4. The marks on Jiah’s jaw had a pattern which couldn’t possibly have come from a dupatta.
Payne-James’ report states,
I do not believe that the possibility of a staged hanging after death that has been caused previously has been properly considered (e.g. ligature strangulation with some other material and then Nafisa Khan being ‘hung’ with the dupatta).
The report goes on to state,
There are a number of serious misinterpretations (or exclusions of reasonable inferences) of the medical evidence, and that the apparent intention to attribute her death to suicide may mean that the real possibility of a staged hanging subsequent to earlier death at the hands of another has been missed.
It remains to be seen whether Indian courts will admit this new forensic report. Rabia Khan’s lawyers hope that the court will, at the very least, consider the many discrepancies the new report points out. Justice has been a long time coming, in this and other cases. Here’s hoping justice finally gets served!