Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Al-Assad regime targeted, killed US reporter: suit

CONSPIRACY:The lawsuit filed in a US district court said the rocket attack was part of a concerted effort to surveil and kill journalists to crush political opposition

AFP, WASHINGTON

US journalist Marie Colvin poses for a photograph with Libyan rebels in Misrata, Libya, on June 4, 2011.

Photo: Reuters

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad targeted and killed US reporter Marie Colvin in February 2012 to stop her from covering government atrocities, according to a lawsuit filed in a US court on Saturday.

The Syrian military intercepted Colvin’s communications and unleashed a barrage of rocket fire on her position in the besieged city of Homs, according to documents filed in a US district court in Washington.

Colvin, then reporting for Britain’s Sunday Times, was killed, along with French photographer Remi Ochlik.

British photographer Paul Conroy, French reporter Edith Bouvier and Syrian media defender Wael al-Omar were wounded in the same attack.

The suit alleges that acting “with premeditation, Syrian officials deliberately killed Marie Colvin by launching a targeted rocket attack” against the makeshift broadcast studio in Homs where Colvin and other reporters were based.

The lawsuit is based on information from captured government documents and defectors. It names several Syrian officials, including al-Assad’s brother Maher.

After an informant confirmed Colvin’s presence at the temporary studio, Syrian artillery units “deliberately launched salvos of 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 suit said.

The rocket attack “was the object of a conspiracy” by senior al-Assad regime officials “to surveil, target and ultimately kill civilian journalists in order to silence local and international media as part of its effort to crush political opposition,” the document said.

The suit was filed on behalf of Colvin’s sister Cathleen Colvin and other surviving family members by the nonprofit Center for Justice and Accountability.

Marie Colvin, who was 56, covered many of the bloodiest conflicts of the past three decades.

She wore a black eye-patch after losing an eye in a grenade blast reporting on Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2001.

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