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UK doctor "murdered" in Syrian jail

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 01:42

Dec. 18 - UK officials say a British surgeon who died in jail in Syria was ''in effect'' murdered by the Syrian authorities. Sarah Toms reports.

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This British surgeon Abbas Khan travelled to Syria last November after he volunteered as an emergency doctor. Within 48 hours of arriving he was arrested. He died just days before his expected release from jail. Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson said he was "in effect" murdered by the Syrian authorities. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER, HUGH ROBERTSON, SAYING: "The fact is that he went to Syria to help the people of Syria who were affected by the civil war. There is no excuse whatsoever for the treatment that he has suffered by the Syrian authorities, who have in effect murdered a British national." But Khan's brother has accused the Foreign Office of not doing enough to help secure his release. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BROTHER OF ABBAS KHAN, SHAHNAWAZ KHAN, SAYING: "We don't hold them liable, obviously, but a certain degree of responsibility lays at their door for not offering any assistance to us and there were moments when they could have helped and intervened - they've had contact with the regime, they've been dealing with them by direct or indirect means, and they could have pressed those channels if they wanted to, but they decided to treat it as if he had been caught breaking some of their trivial laws - but he's actually done nothing wrong. He's gone there out of a moral obligation he felt to help people in need. It's something that our government should support rather than just turning a blind eye." Syrian authorities said Khan committed suicide using his pyjamas to hang himself but his family says he was looking forward to coming home for Christmas. Khan had been moved by the plight of refugees. He travelled to Syria to treat badly wounded civilians. He is survived by a wife and two children.

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UK doctor "murdered" in Syrian jail

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 01:42