Members of the Lebanese Red Cross carry the coffin of Abbas Khan, the British doctor who died in a Syrian jail, as it arrives at the Hotel Dieu hospital in the capital Beirut on December 21, 2013
Members of the Lebanese Red Cross carry the coffin of Abbas Khan, the British doctor who died in a Syrian jail, as it arrives at the Hotel Dieu hospital in the capital Beirut on December 21, 2013 © Anwar Amro - AFP/File
Members of the Lebanese Red Cross carry the coffin of Abbas Khan, the British doctor who died in a Syrian jail, as it arrives at the Hotel Dieu hospital in the capital Beirut on December 21, 2013
AFP
Last updated: October 13, 2014

Britain investigates death of doctor in Syria

A court on Monday began a series of inquest hearings into the death of a British orthopedic surgeon in Syrian government custody in 2012.

The family of Abbas Khan claim that the 32-year-old father-of-two from London was murdered while detained.

The Syrian government said that he killed himself and was found hanging in his prison cell.

Chief coroner Peter Thornton told the Royal Courts of Justice in London that Khan's family had made "superhuman" efforts to secure his release.

"It is clear that he wanted to use his medical skills to help others and that included helping others in conflict-torn Syria," the coroner said.

Khan was detained in the city of Aleppo in November 2012 after travelling from Turkey to help out in a hospital.

Under English law, inquests are held to examine violent, unnatural or unexplained deaths.

They set out to determine the place and time of death as well as how the deceased came by their death. But they do not apportion blame.

The inquest is set to last around three weeks.

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