Doctor ‘unlawfully killed’ in Syria

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A jury has returned a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest into the death of British doctor in a Syrian prison.

Abbas Khan, a 32-year-old father-of-two from London, died on December 16 2013 while in custody in Damascus.

His family claim he was murdered, but the Syrian government has always maintained that the orthopaedic surgeon killed himself and was found hanging in a jail cell.

During a two-week hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the jury of seven men and four women heard there was no evidence that Dr Khan, who was captured in Aleppo in November 2012 after travelling from Turkey, had gone to Syria to fight.

The chief coroner, Judge Peter Thornton, said: “It is clear that he wanted to use his medical skills to help others, and that included helping others in conflict-torn Syria.”

Dr Khan’s family, particularly his mother Fatima Khan – who travelled to Syria alone to lobby for his release – had made “superhuman” efforts on his behalf, while Respect MP George Galloway, former British National Party leader Nick Griffin and a delegation of Parliamentarians were also involved in unsuccessful bids to free him.

The jury said the medical cause of Dr Khan’s death was “unascertained”.

Dr Khan died on December 16 2013 in an “unknown prison or place of detention” in Damascus, it said.

The jury forewoman announced: “Dr Khan was deliberately and intentionally killed without any legal justification.”

Asked what the jury’s conclusion was “as to the death”, she replied: “Unlawful killing.”

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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