Marie Colvin was a veteran correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, renowned for her brave, humanizing reporting in high-conflict areas. In 2012 she was killed in Syria during a rocket strike. Four years later, her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Syrian government, accusing senior officials of hunting down the journalist in a "conspiracy".
The wrongful-death civil complaint was filed Saturday at a federal court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Justice & Accountability on behalf of Colvin's sister and niece. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages. It complains that she was targeted in an effort to silence coverage of the war.
Colvin was killed along with French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik after the rocket attack over reporters “media center” in Homs, Syria. The documents hold that the attack, which came just hours after Colvin issued a report accusing the government of assailing “cold, starving civilians,” was part of a coordinated campaign between Syrian military and intelligence forces.
This week her family sued the Syrian government in Washington, claiming that top aides to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad organized a campaign to kill journalists covering the war.
The government’s goal was “to survey, target, and ultimately kill civilian journalists in order to silence local and international media as part of its effort to crush political opposition,” the lawsuit says.
Foreign governments are typically immune from U.S. civil lawsuits, but there are exceptions for countries designated by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. Syria is designated as a terrorism sponsor since 1979. According to the suit, U.S. courts have jurisdiction over the case under a law that grants special powers for an “extrajudicial killing” committed by a state sponsor of terrorism.