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Forensic experts open Salvador Dali's coffin to take DNA samples

Forensic experts have opened Salvador Dali's coffin to obtain DNA samples that could help settle a paternity lawsuit, a court spokeswoman said.

The coffin was opened half an hour after it was lifted from the crypt in Figueres where Dali's remains have been for the past 27 years, the official with the court administration in Catalonia, Spain, said in a statement.

A committee of judges and technicians immediately started work to obtain biological samples that could shed light on whether a 61-year-old tarot card reader, Pilar Abel, is, as she claims, Dali's daughter.

Only five people are handling this part of the process, the official said, in order to reduce the risk of contaminating the DNA samples.

Pilar Abel says her mother had an affair with Dali while working as a domestic helper in the north-eastern town of Figueres. A judge granted the exhumation last month to conduct a DNA test.

Four people carrying a coffin entered the Dali Theatre Museum on Thursday, one hour after doors closed to visitors.

Technicians installed a pulley system on scaffolding in order to lift a 1.5-ton stone slab that covered the crypt where the painter's embalmed body was interred.

A marquee was also installed under the museum's glass dome to prevent any photography or video of the process, even from drones.

Abel said a desire to honour her mother's memory, and not money, was motivating her paternity lawsuit.

AP

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