19 Dec 2013

UK surgeon dead in Syria

3:08 pm on 19 December 2013

A British surgeon who was arrested after travelling to Syria to volunteer as an emergency doctor has died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Abbas Khan, 32, was arrested 48 hours after arriving in Aleppo in November last year, but was expected to be released from prison this week. His family say he was in good health.

A medical report cited by the SANA news agency said the cause of death was ''asphyxia caused by hanging".

British MP George Galloway, who was due to collect Mr Khan on Friday, said:

"We know what the crime was: he was captured on the battle field in Aleppo. He had no right to be there.

"He was administering medical treatment in a war zone. This is obviously something that if he was captured he would be held for."

The government said a member of Mr Khan's family is expected to go to Damascus to collect Mr Khan's body when visa formalities are completed.

The BBC reports Mr Khan's family has previously said the doctor had worked in refugee camps in Turkey. He had not planned to go to Syria but travelled there to treat badly injured civilians.