Syria Statement Marie Colvin_RTSH8FP.jpg
A man holds a sign honoring Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin after a memorial service in London in 2012. A U.S. court ruled on January 30, 2019, that the Syrian government deliberately killed her. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)

US court: Syria 'planned, executed extrajudicial killing' of Marie Colvin

January 31, 2019 1:18 PM ET

New York, January 31, 2019--A U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C., late yesterday found the Syrian government culpable in the 2012 killing of Marie Colvin, a correspondent for the U.K. newspaper Sunday Times, and ordered the government to pay US$302.5 million to her family, AFP reported today. According to the opinion, the court found that the Syrian government "discovered that foreign journalists were broadcasting reports from a Media Center in Baba Amr" and "launched an artillery attack against it, for the purpose of killing the journalists inside."

"This finding that Syria is responsible for deliberately killing Marie Colvin will not bring her back, but it will send a strong message to authorities worldwide that murdering journalists has consequences," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. "As the international community continues to demand accountability for Jamal Khashoggi's murder, the U.S. court's verdict highlights the potential for justice and puts governments everywhere on notice."

Colvin was killed alongside French photojournalist Remi Ochlik in Homs, Syria, in 2012 after Syrian forces fired a shell on the building where they were reporting. Evidence unsealed during the lawsuit in the D.C. court found that Syrian military officials responsible for the killing were rewarded with new cars and promotions. Marie Colvin's sister, Cathleen Colvin, and other relatives filed the lawsuit with the Center for Justice and Accountability.

At least 126 journalists have been killed covering the conflict in Syria, making it the second deadliest country for the media since CPJ began keeping records in 1992.

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