Early one Friday morning in late April, Hala Abdulaziz, a 29-year-old interior designer, went online from her apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, to check the latest on protests in her home country of Syria.
Moments later, Hala recognized her father in a video of demonstrators under fire.
Hala didn’t receive confirmation that her father had died until she saw his name, Abdalgafar Abdulaziz, on a list of people killed on a news program.
In the following month, Hala sought recourse the only way she could from Washington – she sued Bashar Al Assad and members of his regime under an American legal clause that gives US citizens the right to sue foreign governments for torturing or killing their relatives.
That’s when the scare tactics began. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation later learned, employees of the Syrian Embassy in Washington were behind a campaign of intimidation.
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