Marie Colvin’s family have filed a horrifying lawsuit suing the Assad regime for her death
Marie Colvin was regarded as one of the greatest war reporters of her generation (File)
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When she was killed, Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin was reporting from Homs, on the front line of a Syrian uprising that was being brutally suppressed by Bashar al Assad. She died, alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, when a shell hit their media centre in an apartment in the densely populated area of Babr Amr.
Now, Colvin’s family are suing the Assad regime for her death.
The lawsuit, based on intercepted transmissions, memos and informant accounts, contains horrifying details of both Colvin’s death and systematic and merciless targeting of civilian journalists by the Assad regime.
It states that Colvin had been under surveillance from government intelligence as she worked to enter Syria and was earmarked for assassination – part of a regime conspiracy “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.”
After Colvin and other reporters had transmitted accounts revealing regime atrocities from the media centre, it argues, the apartment’s location was revealed by an informant and a targeted attack launched.
Before she died, Colvin had told the BBC that Assad’s forces had been "shelling with impunity, with merciless disregard for civilians", and spoken with TV stations including Channel 4, BBC and CNN. She and her cameraman, Paul Conroy, had also decided to leave Homs on the day they were killed, fearing they would not survive many more hours in the city.
The report also highlights other horrifying examples of regime crimes against journalists, including the deaths under torture of cartoonist Ali Ferzat and Ferzat Jarban, a freelance cameraman who was found dead, with his eyes gouged out, after being arrested by intelligence forces.
The number killed so far in the Syrian civil war, which has seen the regime of Bashar Assad brutally crush opposition, is difficult to accurately estimate – thanks in part to the bloody suppression of reporting from inside the country. Recent statistics, however, place the number of casualties as easily topping 400,000.
The regime denied it had killed Colvin or her colleagues.