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Yemen Families Sue U.S. over Drone Strike Killings

HeadlineJun 09, 2015

The families of an anti-al-Qaeda cleric and a police officer killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen have filed a lawsuit asking a U.S. court to acknowledge their deaths were “unlawful.” Salem bin Ali Jaber and Waleed bin Ali Jaber were killed in August 2012 in eastern Yemen during a meeting with three strangers suspected of being al-Qaeda members. Yemen paid the families of Salem and Waleed a total of $155,000 in compensation for their deaths, which the families believe came from the United States. But unlike the families of the two U.S. and Italian hostages mistakenly killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, the Yemeni families have never received an apology or explanation. Alka Pradhan, an attorney representing the families with the human rights group Reprieve, said the lawsuit seeks to clear the victims’ names, not obtain monetary damages.

Alka Pradhan: “This is a huge point of honor for the family. Salem, being who he was, being a well-known imam who preached against al-Qaeda, to have his name tarred as a militant, to have Waleed, who was a policeman, who enforced the rule of law, tried to enforce the rule of law as best as possible in Yemen, to have these two tarred as militants, the family really cannot live with that. They’re not asking for money. They want an acknowledgment that this is not the case.”

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