Marie Colvin: Syrian government found liable over journalist’s death

US judge orders Assad regime to pay $302.5m for its role in reporter’s killing

A man holds a sign honouring journalist Marie Colvin at a memorial service in London in May 2012. File photograph: Stefan Wermuth//Reuters

A man holds a sign honouring journalist Marie Colvin at a memorial service in London in May 2012. File photograph: Stefan Wermuth//Reuters

 

A US judge has ruled that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government is liable for at least $302.5 million (about €264 million) in damages for its role in the 2012 death of renowned American journalist Marie Colvin while she was covering the Syrian civil war.

US district judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a ruling made public on Wednesday that the Syrian government “engaged in an act of extrajudicial killing of a United States national”.

Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs while reporting on the Syrian conflict.

A lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family in 2016 accused officials in Mr Assad’s government of deliberately targeting rockets towards a makeshift broadcast studio where Colvin and other reporters were living and working.

Ruling in the case, Ms Justice Jackson wrote that “a targeted attack on a media centre hosting foreign journalists that resulted in two fatalities and multiple injuries . . . is an unconscionable act”.

The judge ruled that compensatory damages to be awarded in addition to the $302.5 million in punitive damages would be calculated at a later date.