Washington: Relatives of three American citizens, including radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who were killed in drone strikes in Yemen last year, have sued the Obama administration for targeting the terrorism suspects rather than taking them to trial.
The lawsuit claimed that the killings of al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and operative Samir Khan were unconstitutional.
“The US practice of ''targeted killing'' has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including many hundreds of civilian bystanders,” the lawsuit said.
“While some targeted killings have been carried out in the context of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many have taken place outside the context of armed conflict, in countries including Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Sudan, and the Philippines,” it said.
“These killings rely on vague legal standards, a closed executive process, and evidence never presented to the courts. ... The killings violated fundamental rights afforded to all US citizens, including the right not to be deprived of life without due process of law,” it added.
According to Fox News, the complaint, prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights, was filed against four senior national security officials.
The officials include Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and senior commanders of the military's Special Operations forces, Adm. William McRaven of the Navy and Lt Gen Joseph Votel of the Army.
First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 13:16