Dr Salah al-Tubaigy spent three months as an observer at the VIFM in 2015, a VIFM spokeswoman said today.
“It’s very common practice. He was there strictly as an observer, he didn’t practice in any way.”
“He was particularly interested in CT scanning.”
Turkey has identified Tubaigy as one of the suspects in the missing case of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered while Saudi officials deny any wrongdoing.
Former VIFM director Professor Stephen Cordner was involved in training Tubaigy, who came to the Victorian institute as an observer sponsored by the Saudi government.
Cordner said Tubaigy had trained in Saudi Arabia and the UK.
“I remember Dr Tubaigy,” he told ABC radio today.
“He became really the senior forensic doctor in Saudi Arabia, he was head of the Saudi forensic medicine commission.”
One of his responsibilities was dealing with disasters, particularly deaths of pilgrims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
“He did get familiar with the use of our CT scans in a post-mortem context,” Cordner said.
“He didn’t do any autopsies. He observed autopsies, attended academic meetings, so really just attended things that happened in the building.”
Cordner said the institute took a “generous view” of people who had indicated they wanted to spend time there observing.
“We approach them as though they’re honest people dealing with us wanting to improve the lives of the people in the country they come from,” he said.
“(Saudi Arabia) wouldn’t be the only country in the world where doctors get involved in nefarious activity
“Over history and it still happens, that there are doctors who completely betray their membership of humanity and their membership of what most of us like to think of as a noble profession.”
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