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Forensic Medicine Needs Updating

DNA evidence has become a routine part of investigation and prosecution in all types of crimes, including sexual assaults
Specialists are working at 320 forensic centers and evaluate two million judicial cases per year.Specialists are working at 320 forensic centers and evaluate two million judicial cases per year.

Forensic scientists should be provided research and study opportunities regularly at the international level to update their techniques in the field so as to improve the quality of domestic forensic work.

Hassan Tofighi, head of the 5th annual International Congress of Legal Medicine, speaking on the sidelines of the event held November 2-4 at Imam Khomeini Hospital Conference Hall in Tehran, pointed out that an Iranian legal medicine specialist sent to Spain in 1991 for research returned two years later with the technology for launching the first DNA testing laboratory in the country.

“Currently, there are 359 legal or forensic medicine specialists in Iran and 56 students who are studying the subject, but the number is 33% lower when compared with the global standards, “ said Tofighi, a forensic medicine professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He also founded the university’s specialty training in Forensic Medicine in 1991.

The specialists are working at 320 forensic centers and evaluate two million judicial cases per year. Forensic medicine identifies and interprets physical evidence collected from a crime scene.

In Iran, general physicians (GPs) should undergo a 3-year residency program to become forensic doctors.

The international confab with the theme on ‘Role of Legal Medicine in Health System’ saw 70 national and eight international speakers from Indonesia, Algeria and Switzerland present scientific papers. Also five workshops were organized during the congress, IRNA reported.

New techniques in clinical legal medicine, laboratory testing in forensic medicine, medical law, and use of biotechnology in legal medicine were among the important topics discussed.

  DNA Testing

Director General of Tehran’s Legal Medicine Organization Masoud Qadi-Pasha, also speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, said the organization last year was involved in DNA testing to identify the Iranian victims of the Mina stampede.

In September 2015, several thousand hajj pilgrims, including 469 Iranians, lost their lives in a stampede in the Saudi city of Mina, near Mecca during a hajj ritual.

He urged Iran’s Management and Planning Organization (MPO) to increase the organization’s budget for purchasing diagnostic DNA kits.

DNA evidence has become a routine part of investigation and prosecution in all types of crimes, including sexual assaults.

“DNA examination for sexual assault can be performed till a month after the crime is committed,” he added.

According to the judiciary, a sudden increase in rape cases was seen in the year 2010 and the average rate of sexual assault cases increased from the previous 1,000 cases per year to 1,300 cases. Since then, the rate has remained the same.

Iran Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO) works as an independent body but under the supervision of the judiciary.

Its main activities and responsibilities include clinical interpretation of injuries, provision of forensic DNA testing services, responding to enquiries from state institutions and organizations, provision of training courses to specialty residents, medical, midwifery, law and police students, as well as conducting scientific research to improve the quality of forensic testing.

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