The family members of an anti-Al Qaeda cleric and a police officer killed in an American drone strike in Yemen in 2012 have reportedly sued the United States, seeking a formal apology and an acknowledgement that innocent civilians were mistakenly killed.
The lawsuit was filed by Faisal Ali Jaber, an engineer, who lost his brother-in-law, Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, and his nephew, Waleed, in a drone strike. He claimed that three men had come to their village looking for Salem, who was a cleric, several times and he had finally agreed to meet them on August 29, 2012. He had taken Waleed along for protection and as the meeting was underway, four Hellfire missiles blew them apart, Faisal added.
He also said that the family had been repeatedly asking the U.S. government to admit their mistake and apologise but their pleas had been ignored. The victims’ family was only paid a total of USD 155,000 in compensation in cash by Yemeni authorities in 2014.
International human rights group Reprieve is providing assistance to Faisal in the legal tussle.
The plaintiffs said that the case was an attempt to break the secrecy surrounding drone strikes and urged the court to impose some public accountability for the programme.
Leaked intelligence, reported by The Intercept, had earlier claimed that shortly after conducting the air strike, the U.S. official knew that civilians had been killed.
The lawsuit came just months after U.S. President Barack Obama apologised for another drone attack that killed an American and an Italian citizen held in Pakistan and announced an independent enquiry into the killings.