Death by Drones: Is a U.S. Citizen Entitled to Due Process?

ImageBy Nicholas Ulrich

Last Friday, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case brought by Nasser Al-Aulaqi over the drone killings of his son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi, and grandson Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi. Unmanned U.S. drone strikes in Yemen killed Anwar and Abdulrahman, both of whom were United States citizens. The Obama Administration specifically targeted Anwar after deeming him a terrorist and placing him on a “kill list.” Though suspected of facilitating the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in 2009, Anwar was never charged, tried, or convicted of any crimes. Despite this, a U.S. drone killed him on September 30, 2011 while he was driving a car in Yemen.

Two weeks later, an unmanned drone strike killed Anwar’s teenage son, Abdulrahman, while he was sitting in an open-air café in southern Yemen. Abdulrahman and the six others killed with him were not specifically targeted nor officially deemed terrorists by the Obama Administration. Rather, they were mere bystanders in a strike intended for Ibraham Al-Banna, an Egyptian national. Incidentally, Al-Banna was not killed in the strike.

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