Terrorism

Suit Is Filed in Drone Strike Deaths of Radical Cleric and Two Other US Citizens


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Corrected: A suit against top military and CIA officials seeks compensation for the drone strike deaths last year of three U.S. citizens, including radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The suit was filed by family members of these three citizens killed in Yemen: Awlaki; his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman; and al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan, report the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights are helping with the suit, which claims a violation of due process. Though the plaintiffs seek damages, the primary aim is to force disclosure about the government’s drone strike decisions, according to Jameel Jaffer, deputy director of the ACLU, who spoke to the Post.

A prior suit filed by Anwar al-Awlaki’s father sought an injunction to prevent the killing of his son. A federal judge dismissed the suit in December 2010 on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked standing and his claims were nonjusticiable under the political question doctrine.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Uneasy Targets: How Justifying the Killing of Terrorists Has Become a Major Policy Debate”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Tosses Suit Seeking to Prevent Targeted Killing of Cleric Who Urged Jihad”

Updated at 11:20 a.m. to correct Abdulrahman’s age to 16.

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