Prisoners claim Dr Abbas Khan was killed for documenting brutality

Dr Abbas Khan

Two prisoners have spoken about the death of a British doctor in Syria, stating that he was killed because he kept a diary of the brutality he witnessed in prison.

Dr Abbas Khan, 32, from London, was working in a field hospital in a rebel-controlled part of Syria when he was arrested in November 2012.

Syrian officials said his death in custody more than a year later was suicide, but his family dispute this.

On Monday a pre-inquest hearing in London has asked for medical reports on Dr Khan.

At the Royal Courts of Justice, counsel to the inquest Samantha Leek QC said a team of medical professionals would be instructed to produce detailed reports of Dr Khan’s health before he died.


Two former inmates claimed Dr Abbas Khan was in a positive frame of mind.

One of the men, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, claimed the 32-year-old surgeon was killed because he had kept a diary about what he had seen.

He said: “He used to tell us about how they used to beat him and hang him up by his hands.

“I remember he had lots of dark bruises.

“He saw people dying in front of him. Abbas saw the brutality. They killed him for the things Abbas saw.”

British Foreign Office (FCO)

Dr Khan’s brother said the FCO treated his case as if he were a “wayward traveller in Dubai being caught drunk”.

UK Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson said Dr Khan was “in effect murdered” by the Syrian authorities.

Dr Khan died just days before his expected release from jail after his arrest in Aleppo last year.

Shahnawaz Khan said: “It is interesting for the Foreign Office to take that line now. We have been telling them for 13 months that this is a very real possibility.

“And they have treated his case like he’s been some wayward traveller in Dubai being caught drunk, and contravened some trivial law in Syria. The fact that this individual was out there helping the humanitarian effort and has been held for 13 months against his will without a charge or a trial or access to a lawyer, and they have offered very little assistance, placated us throughout.”

It has also been reported that Foreign Minister William Hague rejected many requests from the family about Dr Abbas’s predicament.

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