Family of killed US journalist Marie Colvin sues Syria | News | DW | 10.07.2016
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Family of killed US journalist Marie Colvin sues Syria

The family of American journalist Marie Colvin, who died in Syria in 2012, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a US court. They accused the Syrian government of deliberately killing her.

The lawsuit said Syrian officials deliberately targeted rockets against a makeshift broadcast studio where Colvin and other reporters were living and working. The lawsuit, first reported in "The New York Times," said the attack was part of a plan to silence local and international media "as part of its effort to crush political opposition." It also claimed the killing was orchestrated at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

According to the documents filed at a US district court in Washington, the Syrian military had intercepted Colvin's communications before unleashing rocket fire on her position in the besieged city.

Award-winning US journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the Syrian city of Homs in 2012 while reporting on the Syrian conflict. Colvin was reporting for the Sunday edition of the London "Times" at the time. British photographer Paul Conroy, French reporter Edith Bouvier, and Syrian media defender Wael al-Omar were wounded in the same attack.

'Bracketing'

Filed on behalf of Colvin's sister Cathleen Colvin and other surviving family members, the lawsuit is reportedly based on information gathered from captured government documents and defectors. It names several Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad's brother Maher.

Remi Ochlik

French photographer Remi Ochlik was killed in the same attack

It states that after an informant had confirmed Colvin's presence at the site, Syrian artillery units launched rockets and mortars directly at the media center. "Using a targeting method called 'bracketing,' multiple rockets were launched to either side of the media center, drawing closer with each round," the lawsuit states.

Colvin, 56, had covered many of the conflicts of the past three decades. The Britain-based journalist wore a black eye-patch after losing an eye in a grenade blast while reporting on Sri Lanka's civil war in 2001.

Reporters Without Borders support

The journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said it supported the lawsuit.

Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, said the group hoped the efforts would help to expose the truth, "namely that these journalists were deliberately targeted and killed because they were providing information about the Syrian army's crimes against civilians."

ss/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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