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France - Our Body banned

Exhibition of dissected human bodies closed by Paris court

Article published on the 2009-04-21 Latest update 2009-04-21 14:23 TU

Partof the exhibitionDR

Partof the exhibition

A French court has ordered the closure of the Our Body exhibition of human bodies coated in plastic resin on the grounds that it offends public decency and lacks respect for the dead. The organisers have 24 hours to close up or face fines of 20,000 euros a day.



"The appropriate place for the corpse, according to the law, is the cemetery," said Judge Louis-Marie Raingeard, who judged that the exhibition constituted a "commercialisation of the body", which "is an obvious offence to the respect due" to the dead.

The lawyer for the organisers has already appealed against the ruling. The show, which opened mid-Feburary, displays the bodies of 17 Chinese men and women, often dissected to expose their anatomy.

Two organisations opposed to the death penalty in China accused Encore Events of breaching human rights. They claimed that the bodies could have been those of executed prisoners. The organisers say that the bodies were supplied by the Anatomical Sciences &. Technologies Foundation (Hong Kong), Ltd, and that the people had given their consent when they were alive.

"We were not showing anything that could have been shocking people," says scientific adviser Hervé Laurent. "So that's why we are really surprised."

Defence: Dr Hervé Laurent, scientfic advisor for the Our Body exhibition in France

21/04/2009 by Rosslyn Hyams

At the hearing three weeks ago the organisers claimed that the exhibition is scientific and educational. The bodies are coated with a special plastic, exposing the nervous system, muscle tissues and organs.

The court judged that the dissections were not scientifically justifiable, the colouring arbitrary and the display unrealistic.

The exhibition has already been to Lyons and Marseilles in France, as well as going to the US, Germany and Spain, and has been visited by an estimated 30 million people.