Family of slain journalist accuse Assad of deliberate killing

Family of slain journalist accuse Assad of deliberate killing
2 min read
10 July, 2016
The family of reporter Marie Colvin - killed by Syrian regime artillery four years ago - are suing the Syrian government over the 'deliberate killing' of the American journalist.
Around 100 journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the war [AFP]
The family of an American journalist killed by artillery fire in Syria filed a lawsuit against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, accusing Damascus of deliberately targeting and killing Marie Colvin in attempt to silence journalists and activists in the war-torn country.

Colvin's family submitted a 32-page complaint to the US federal court in Washington on Saturday, accusing high-ranking Syrian officials - including Assad's brother Maher - of tracking and targeting foreign reporters and Syrian locals who assisted them.

The family of the reporter who worked for The Sunday Times of London filed a wrongful-death lawsuit citing witness accounts and uncovered government documents contending that regime forces intercepted Colvin's communication signals to pinpoint her location before striking.

Colvin, 56, was killed in 2012 when her apartment building in the rebel-held neighbourhood of Baba Amr was shelled by regime forces.

The attack had come just hours after she gave a live report accusing the Syrian regime of waging an indiscriminate bombing campaign killing "cold, starving civilians", her family argued. 

Her death was described by her sister, Cathleen Colvin, as a cold, deliberate and well-calculated plan by the Syrian regime to kill and silence journalists reporting on war atrocities.

"I'm not the only one who lost a sister," she told The New York Times, "I really do hope that all the perpetrators are brought to justice for war crimes, and hopefully this is the first step."

Although the Colvin lawsuit is likely to take years in courts, if the Syrian regime does not answer to the charges the judge may proceed to make a ruling.

The court can then use some of the millions of dollars in frozen Syrian assets held by the US government in restitution.

Since the start of Syria's war in 2011, around 100 journalists have been killed, the majority by the regime.

While some were caught alongside other civilians and fighters in regime airstrikes, others have been threatened with kidnap and execution at the hands militant groups.