British surgeon “murdered” in Syria
A British surgeon who died in detention in Syria was “in effect murdered” by the war-torn country’s authorities, a Foreign Office minister said.
Hugh Robertson said there could be “no excuse whatsoever” for the way Abbas Khan was treated while he tried to help the casualties of war.
Dr Khan, an orthopaedic surgeon from Streatham, south London, was seized by government troops in the rebel-held city of Aleppo in November.
He was held for more than a year and during that time hiss family ay he suffered severe torture, with his weight plummeting to just five stone.
He had moved into the country on a humanitarian mission without a visa.
The Syrian security agency had promised his release this week, but today it emerged that Dr Khan had died in detention.
His wife Hana still hasn’t been able to break the news to their children six year-old son, Abdullah and daughter Rurayya, seven.
Today in response to the news, Mr Robertson told the BBC: “There is no excuse whatsoever for the treatment that he has suffered by the Syrian authorities who have in effect murdered a British national who was in their country to help people injured during their civil war.”
Dr Khan’s family said they had been betrayed by the British government as they requested help but none was forthcoming.
Dr Abbas’s mother Fatima and brother Afroze are presently in Beirut, Lebanon.
This afternoon they received confirmation from the Syrian government that they would be able to repatriate his body to the UK, bringing some relief to his family.
His sister Sara stressed that he had only travelled to the region in a humanitarian capacity, because he was an “apolitical guy”.
According to the Syrian authorities Mr Khan committed suicide on Tuesday morning by using his pyjamas to hang himself.
However his family insist he was murdered as a result of a growing rift between the Syrian secret service and the government, led by President Bashar al-Assad.
Ms Khan said: “He has become a victim of internal politics in Syria”.
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