Federal judge rules Syria's Assad culpable in death of US journalist

Federal judge rules Syria's Assad culpable in death of US journalist
© Getty Images
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled the Syrian government is liable for the death of Marie Colvin, an American journalist killed in February 2012 while covering the war between the government of Bashar Assad and various rebel factions.
 
Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Colvin's family had demonstrated with a satisfactory amount of evidence that Syria is liable for Colvin’s death, and ordered the Syrian government to pay $302.5 million in damages. 
 
Colvin was in Syria writing for the British newspaper The Sunday Times when she was killed along with French photographer Remi Ochlik in an attack on the Baba Amr Media Center, from which foreign journalists were broadcasting. 
 
In a 36-page ruling filed Wednesday, Jackson said Colvin was specifically targeted because of her profession, for the purpose of silencing those reporting on the growing opposition movement in the country. 
 
While a $150 million in damages is typically awarded, Jackson said Syria should be forced to pay more. 
 
"By perpetrating a directed attack against the Media Center, Syria intended to intimidate journalists, inhibit newsgathering and the dissemination of information, and suppress dissent," she said. 
 
"A targeted murder of an American citizen, whose courageous work was not only important, but vital to our understanding of war zones and of wars generally, is outrageous, and therefore a punitive damages award that multiples the impact on the responsible state is warranted."