HERMEL/BEIRUT: The body of British Dr. Abbas Khan, who died in Syrian custody earlier this week, arrived in Lebanon Saturday ahead of repatriation to the United Kingdom.
Khan’s coffin was transferred at the eastern Masnaa border crossing at around 3 p.m. before a convoy of vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Lebanese Red Cross and British Embassy made its way to Beirut’s Hotel Dieu hospital.
Khan’s mother and brother – Fatima and Afroze – watched as medical staff moved the coffin carrying their loved one to the hospital’s morgue where the body will remain until it is returned to the U.K.
“They murdered my baby,” Khan’s mother told journalists at the hospital.
A 32-year-old doctor from south London, Khan had been treating wounded civilians in northern Syria. The physician was arrested by authorities just over a year ago and was due to be released last week but Syrian government officials said Tuesday he had been found dead in his cell in an apparent suicide.
The suicide claims have been rejected by Khan’s family. They have released handwritten letters from the doctor to his seven-year-old daughter saying that he was looking forward to seeing her soon.
Hugh Robertson, a U.K. Foreign Office minister, has slammed the Syrian regime over Khan’s death, saying that the government of President Bashar Assad "in effect murdered a British national who was in their country to help people."
The British Embassy in Beirut would not comment on when Khan’s body would be flown back to the U.K.