Wife of killed journalist says Syrian regime plotted death

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Wife of Gilles Jacquier, a French journalist killed in Syria in January 2012 while covering the war, accused the Syrian regime of planning her husband’s killing.

In her book “Attentat Express,” which was released last week, photojournalist Caroline Poiron said the Syrian regime planned her husband's killing via air force intelligence, Maher al-Assad and Michel Samaha, a former Lebanese information minister arrested in August 2012 for involvement in “terror plots."

Poiron was present when her husband died in the Syrian city of Homs while covering events for the French channel France 2.

“I accuse Bashar al-Assad’s regime [of murdering my husband]. It was a planned operation. I have [lots of] evidence, video [tapes] and witnesses. Criminal experts confirmed that the operation was planned and quickly implemented,” Poiron told Al-Arabiya.

She added that “unfortunately for the regime,” television footage recorded by Syrian TV channels and by the Swiss TV that was accompanying them in Homs revealed the crime’s details in addition to the “terrifying” images that clarify the assassination operation.

“Three intelligence parties participated in the assassination. One of them isolated us from Gilles, the second assassinated him using a sharp object that was present in a building and the third constituted of shabiha (thugs) to distract [people]. The [latter party] brought Gilles’ body out and took photos of it. They didn’t notice I was watching everything,” Poiron added.

A Swiss and an Algerian journalist who wrote the book along with Poiron, refute the claim that Syrian opposition forces are the ones who killed Gilles. According to details recounted by both of them, the Syrian opposition did not know they were present in the New Ikrimah neighborhood where Gilles was killed.

“We know what happened to Gilles thanks to what experts, detectives and witnesses reached. We will drag the Makhlouf family, Maher al-Assad, Ali Mamluk and Michel Samaha to the international court,” Poiron added.

According to Poiron, ex-Lebanese minister Michel Samaha was the one who granted Gilles a visa to enter Syria and organized his appointments.

The book’s conclusion reminds that Gilles had previously entered Syria to record the activity of the Syrian opposition – a move that upset the regime and its intelligence and thus made them invite Gilles through Samaha to record activity of the elite Fourth Armed Division led by Maher al-Assad. Gilles was reportedly killed afterwards to send a message to the French government, which supports the Syrian revolution, and to prevent the worldwide circulation of footage of the regime’s illegal actions.

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