London-Relatives of Marie Colvin, a veteran U.S. war reporter who died in 2012 in an artillery barrage in Syria, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Syrian regime, The New York Times reported.
Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs in 2012 while reporting on the Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year.
The civil complaint, filed Saturday in federal court in Washington, contends that high-ranking Syrian officials, including Bashar al-Assad’s brother Maher and other top advisers, worked in concert to locate, track and target foreign journalists and Syrians who had helped them.
The complaint also lays out new details of the events leading to Colvin’s death, citing witnesses and government sources and documents uncovered in what the family’s lawyers described as a three-year probe.
The family accused the regime of targeting and killing Colvin as part of a systematic strategy to silence civilian journalists and activists covering the war.
Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said it supported the lawsuit.
The group’s secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, said Reporters Without Borders “hopes these efforts will help to expose the truth, namely that these journalists were deliberately targeted and killed because they were providing information about the Syrian army’s crimes against civilians.”
A murder and attempted murder investigation was launched in France in 2012 into the death of Ochlik and wounding of another journalist, Edith Bouvier, in the same attack.
Reporters Without Borders, as an interested party in the case, said it will submit the Colvin family’s U.S. lawsuit to the judge in charge of the French investigation on Monday.
Colvin and Ochlik were both prize-winning reporters of wars in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
Colvin, who was 56, covered many of the world’s bloodiest conflicts from the 1980s onwards. She wore a black eye-patch after losing an eye in a grenade blast reporting on Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2001.
Homs is “a city of the cold and hungry, echoing to exploding shells and bursts of gunfire,” Colvin wrote in her final piece for The Sunday Times, the paper where she had worked for 25 years.
“On the lips of everyone was the question: ‘Why have we been abandoned by the world?'”