Courts Hear DOJ Motion To Dismiss Case Of Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki

U.S. drone strikes have killed four American citizens to date. The families of three of the victims are bringing a lawsuit against those responsible for the targeted killings, seeking accountability from the U.S. government. On September 30, 2011, a U.S. drone strike killed five people, including U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. On October 14, 2011, another strike murdered Al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son Abdulrahman. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the ACLU are representing plaintiffs Nasser Al-Awlaki, Anwar's father and Abdulrahman's grandfather, and Sarah Khan, mother of Samir Khan. 

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color:#333233″>Codepink delegates met with Nasser Al-Awlaki in Yemen in June. In an interview with the delegates, Nasser expressed, "I'm
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial”>Today, the Codepink DC staff helped fill the packed courtroom to hear the oral argument on the defendants' motion to dismiss. It is imperative that the unconstitutionality of the U.S. government killing its citizens without due process (a violation of our 5th amendment rights) be addressed, but furthermore we cannot stand for extrajudicial killings with impunity, whether the victim is a citizen or noncitizen.

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial”>When pressed by Judge Collyer, the defense eventually implied that 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki was not their intended target, and that this was a tragic accident. Both the defense and the plaintiff agree that as a US citizen, Abdulrahman has 4th and 5th amendment rights. The difference is that the defense argues that AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) against terrorists applies, making Abdulrahman collateral damage in a legitimate strike against terrorist targets. However, the CCR and ACLU argued that AUMF does not apply. This is not Afghanistan; we are not at war with Yemen, and this was outside the context of armed conflict. The defense argued that it is not up to the courts to judge imminent terrorist threats– a dangerous road for us to go down when it comes to executive authority in extrajudicial killings. This essentially strips someone of all rights if the executive branch deems that person an imminent threat (with no definition of the term “imminent,” of course). 

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial”>To follow the case and for more information, please visit 

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