A federal judge has ruled that Syria is responsible for the 2012 death of A Private War subject Marie Colvin and ordered Bashar al-Assad’s regime to pay more than $300 million in a civil judgment today.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed a $302 million judgment against the Syrian government for killing the American war correspondent and a French photographer. The story is told in director Matthew Heineman’s film A Private War, which stars Rosamund Pike as Colvin in a Golden Globe-nominated role. Jamie Dornan also stars as photojournalist Paul Conroy, who was wounded in the artillery attack on a makeshift media center in the western city of Homs.
“In a resounding condemnation of the Assad’s regime’s tactics to systemically silence opposition voices, a federal judge issued a verdict on behalf of Marie Colvin’s family that the war correspondent was deliberately targeted for reporting on the atrocities she witnessed on her last assignment in the besieged Syrian city of Homs in 2012,” Heineman said in a statement today. “Marie died doing her life’s work –going to the most dangerous places and telling the stories of innocent civilians caught in the cross-fire of horrific wars.”
Colvin, who famously wore an eyepatch after losing an eye in a 2001 RPG attack in Sri Lanka, also is the subject of the documentary Under the Wire, which Abramorama released in November.
The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Colvin’s sister and her three children. Syria did not recognize the suit and lost the judgment after no one appeared in court on the government’s behalf. Jackson ruled that the attack that killed Colvin was part of “Syria’s long-standing policy of violence” against media personnel, who were “labeled enemies of the state.”
Syria also was ordered to pay $2.5 million in compensation to Cathleen Colvin, along with undetermined punitive damages.