The family of American journalist Marie Colvin who died in Syria in 2012 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a U.S. court accusing the Assad regime of deliberately killing her.
Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the then besieged city of Homs in 2012 while reporting on the Syrian conflict.
The lawsuit, filed in Washington, said Assad regime officials deliberately targeted rockets against a makeshift broadcast studio where Colvin and other reporters were living and working.
The lawsuit said the attack was part of a plan orchestrated at the highest levels of the Assad regime to silence local and international media “as part of its effort to crush political opposition.”
The lawsuit included as evidence a copy of an August 2011 fax which it alleges was sent from Syria’s National Security Bureau instructing security bodies to launch military and intelligence campaigns against “those who tarnish the image of Syria in foreign media and international organizations.”
“We are seeking truth and justice not just for her, but for thousands of innocent Syrians tortured or killed under the Assad dictatorship,” Colvin’s sister said in a statement released by U.S. human rights group the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) which filed the case for the Colvin family.
Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said it supported the lawsuit. The group’s secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, said the group “hopes these efforts will 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.”
A murder and attempted murder investigation was launched in France in 2012 into the death of Ochlik and wounding of another journalist, Edith Bouvier, in the same attack.
Reporters Without Borders, as an interested party in the case, said it will submit the Colvin family’s U.S. lawsuit to the judge in charge of the French investigation on Monday.
Forty-five journalists and media activists were killed in Syria during the first half of 2016, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). The network said that 27 more journalists and media activists were abducted or detained in the same period, while 38 others were wounded while covering the conflict. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)