|Parents of US scientist dead in Singapore await open inquiry
Singapore has assured the family of a US scientist found hanged last year that his mysterious death will be thoroughly and openly investigated, the foreign ministry said.
The parents of Shane Todd, an electronics researcher who was 31, have raised suspicions that he was murdered as a result of his role in a high-tech project that was said to have involved a Chinese company seen as a threat to US security.
Singapore's ambassador to Washington Ashok Mirpuri met Rick and Mary Todd in the US capital on March 5 and assured them “a thorough investigation would be carried out’’ on the death of their son, the foreign ministry said.
On the same day the envoy also met senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, where the Todds reside, and told them the Singapore police were committed “to a fully transparent and open investigation process.’’
“The ambassador informed the senators that once the police investigations were completed, they will be submitted to a public coroner's inquiry in Singapore,’’ the ministry added. “The coroner will review the investigation findings and interview witnesses to establish the cause of death. The family of Shane Todd will be invited to attend this inquiry and may raise questions to witnesses.’’
Singapore police have asked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to review any evidence in the Todd family's possession.
Todd's parents dispute an autopsy report that he committed suicide and fear he may have been murdered, saying they found computer files linking their son's work to China's Huawei Technologies, which denies involvement in the project.
The story first generated attention after the Financial Times reported in February that Todd's parents suspected he may have been killed in his flat.
It said he was working on an advanced amplifier using gallium nitride (GaN), a tough semiconductor material, and that the technology could have military as well as commercial applications.
Huawei has told AFP it was approached by Todd's former employer, Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics, but “we decided not to accept, and consequently do not have any cooperation with IME related to GaN.’’