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Funeral held for American journalist killed in Syria

By Jesse Solomon, CNN
March 13, 2012 -- Updated 1546 GMT (2346 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marie Colvin, 56, was killed last month during the shelling of Homs, Syria
  • "She was an outstanding reporter ... she covered a lot of wars," John Witherow says
  • The Tamil people admire her reporting Colvin during the Sri Lankan civil war, an official says

New York (CNN) -- Mourners said a solemn farewell to slain journalist Marie Colvin as her family, friends, and colleagues gathered Monday to remember a woman they say gave a voice to those who could not speak for themselves.

Colvin, 56, an Oyster Bay, New York, native and veteran correspondent who worked for London's The Sunday Times, was killed last month in Syria while trying to get her shoes so she could escape a shelling attack in the besieged city of Homs, her paper reported.

"She was an outstanding reporter, she went all over the world, she covered a lot of wars," Sunday Times Editor John Witherow told reporters after her funeral service. "She took tremendous risks and what she did she thought was very important."

Security Council addresses Syria crisis

Asked about the challenge of retrieving Colvin's body, Witherow said it took about a week and a great deal of diplomacy. "It was incredibly hard getting her body out of Homs because they kept shelling, they wouldn't let any kind of humanitarian aid in there, they wouldn't let ambulances take it out," he said.

Neil MacFarquhar, a New York Times correspondent who had dinner with Colvin in Beirut the night before she went into Syria, said Colvin felt compelled to report from Homs despite the dangers and the fact that the Syrian government has not allowed foreign journalists to report from there.

"She knew there was a story in Homs, there was a terrible siege going on," MacFarquhar said. "She was determined to get in however she could."

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, prime minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, said his people have a deep admiration for the reporting Colvin did during the Sri Lankan civil war. "We really lost a friend," he said.

Colvin lost an eye in 2001 during a grenade attack in Sri Lanka.

"We consider that a symbol of her devotion to her work and her passion for oppressed people," Rudrakumaran said.

Colvin, a Yale graduate, was killed alongside French journalist Remi Ochlik in the attack.

Also attending the funeral were News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, former Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin, and Jeremy Bowen, Middle East editor for BBC news.

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