Tuesday February 5, 2013
Umno Youth to help bring Claudia Theophilus's body from Beirut
By KAMATCHY SAPPANI and REGINA LEE
PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth will accompany the family of slain journalist Claudia Theophilus to Beirut to assist in claiming her body.
Its public complaints bureau chairman Datuk Muhammad Khairun Aseh said they hoped to bring the body back on Saturday.
The bureau will pay for the flight tickets, accommodation and ground arrangements for her sister Dora and a family friend.
“We will be coordinating with the consular division of Wisma Putra,” he said.
Claudia was a producer for Al-Jazeera English Online and was based in Doha, Qatar.
She was in Lebanon for a holiday in the mountainous region of Baakleen when she was shot on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese man whose rifle went off and killed Claudia remains detained by local police who are continuing investigations into what appears to be a freak accident.
The unidentified man told the police that he was taking bullets out of his rifle when the weapon went off as he was trying to dislodge a stuck bullet.
Ambassador Ilango Karuppannan confirmed that the man who handled the rifle was still in the Baakleen police lock-up.
“We are coordinating with her family members and will assist them in every way,” he said yesterday.
Coincidentally, Ilango and Claudia studied in the same school SM Sains that was later renamed SM Sains Tuanku Jaafar in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan.
“I'm very saddened. I was in the pioneer batch from 1973-77 while Claudia was from the 1984 batch. Her classmates have described her as a dynamic student and sportswoman,” he said.
Former chairman of The Star branch of the National Union of Journalists Selvayoga Selvaretnam said the death of the former unionist from The Sun was devastating.
“She was the mainstay of the family members who are individually facing many serious medical concerns of their own.
“Claudia was the family's main breadwinner,” he said.
It was reported that her mother had recently suffered a stroke and a married brother was bed-ridden after an accident two years ago.