Cuomo to art exhibit: Document dead bodies

By John O'Brien | May 29, 2008


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - A settlement between New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will require an art exhibit promoter to show the cause of death and origins of the cadavers used in one of its exhibits.

Premier Exhibitions, promoter of "Bodies," reached the agreement with Cuomo Thursday and may have to pay back much of the money it has earned. Cuomo thinks the company may be using the bodies of Chinese prisoners.

"The grim reality is that Premier Exhibitions has profited from displaying the remains of individuals who may have been tortured and executed in China," Cuomo said. "Despite repeated denials, we now know that Premier itself cannot demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals.

"Nor is Premier able to establish that these people consented to their remains being used in this manner. Respect for the dead and respect for the public requires that Premier do more than simply assure us that there is no reason for concern. This settlement is a start."

Everyone who has paid to see the exhibit in New York City is eligible for a complete refund.

Also as part of the settlement, Premier must:

-Obtain written documentation demonstrating the source of each body and body party, cause of death and the decedent's consent to the use of his or her body;

-Place $50,000 in an escrow account for the purpose of dishing out refunds;

-Retain an independent monitor for two years who will ensure the company follows the terms of the settlement; and

-Clearly disclose on its website, entrances and advertisements that it is not able to confirm that the bodies being used are not those of Chinese prisoners, in the event that it continues to use the same cadavers.

Premier uses bodies and parts from the Dalian Hoffen Bio Technique Company, which acquired the bodies indirectly from the Chinese Bureau of Police.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien via e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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