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Journalist Colvin's body to be handed to Polish Embassy

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 02.03.2012 11:15
The Syrian government has claimed that it has located the bodies of journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik and will hand them over to Polish and French embassies.

Marie Colvin: photo - EPA/Ivor Prickett/Sunday Times

The bodies were found in the besieged city of Homs where the two journalists were killed in a rocket attack on a make-shift press centre.

Video footage had previously appeared on the internet of a burial that purported to be that of British Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

In the footage, a masked man claimed that Marie Colvin "was martyred because she was sending [...] a humanitarian message, carrying the truth about what was happening in Baba Amro [the rebel-controlled district in Homs]."

The man claimed that the burials had taken place as electricity cuts in Homs meant that it was no longer possible to prevent the bodies from decaying.

On Thursday, a report emerged from the official Syrian News Agency (SANA), claiming that government authorities had found the bodies.

A source at Syria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs blamed the rebels for not cooperating with the Syrian Red Crescent and the International Red Cross in previous bids to remove the bodies. The Ministry claimed the rebels were trying to “manipulate” what it called “the forces of provocation against Syria.”

The SANA report stresses that after DNA tests, Marie Colvin's body will be handed over to the Polish Embassy.

Colvin was a US citizen, and since the US closed its embassy in Damascus in February, Poland has been representing America's interests in Syria.

Following DNA tests, Remi Ochlik will be handed over to the French Embassy.

The SANA report appeared to send a confused message in claiming that the body of Spanish journslist Javier Espinosa had also been found.

However, Espinosa had already fled to Lebanon, where he gave an interview to CNN saying it would be “a nice joke” were it not for the suffering of the people in Homs.

Espinosa was present when Colvin and Ochlik were killed on 22 February, when a makeshift press centre was hit in the rebel-controlled district of Bana Amr in Homs.

“We were just sleeping and the rockets started falling down on our building,” he said.

Three other Western journalists, Edith Bouvier, Paul Conroy and William Daniels have also been evacuated to Lebanon. (nh/pg)

tags: Arab Spring
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