By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge has ruled that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government is liable for at least $302.5 million in damages for its role in the 2012 death of renowned American journalist Marie Colvin while covering the Syrian civil war.
U.S. 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 Remi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs while reporting on the Syrian conflict.
The lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family in 2016 accused officials in Assad’s government of deliberately targeting rockets against a makeshift broadcast studio where Colvin and other reporters were living and working.
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 $300 million in punitive damages would be calculated at a later date.
A biographical film about Colvin, called “A Private War” and starring British actress Rosamund Pike, was released last year, bringing fresh attention to her career.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)