Man Sues After Drones Kill His Relatives
His appellate court hearing made history
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2016 4:45 PM CST
A protester hold a sign during an anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base, 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Friday, March 6, 2015.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Sun, Steve Marcus)

(Newser) – In August 2012, a US drone strike in Yemen killed two innocent men, and the US should apologize for their deaths, according to a historic lawsuit filed by Yemeni engineer Faisal bin Ali Jaber. Jaber, who wants the drone strike that killed his family members Ahmed Salem Bin Ali Jaber and Waleed Bin Ali Jaber to be declared unlawful, filed the suit against the Obama administration in 2015. It was dismissed by the lower courts in February of this year, but Jaber appealed—making this the "first ever US appellate court hearing in a case brought by a civilian victim of the covert drone program," per UK-based human rights organization Reprieve, which is backing the suit.

Jaber appeared before a US appellate court on Tuesday in Washington DC, but before the hearing, he wrote to Obama to ask for an apology and an acknowledgement that his relatives were innocent. If that had been issued, he would have dropped his suit. An attorney with Reprieve has called the suit "a last resort to get something that should be very simple: an acknowledgment that his relatives were wrongly killed, and a public apology for their tragic deaths." Jaber also wants Obama to release more details about civilians killed by drone strikes. "The only thing that can prevent the mistakes of the past from repeating themselves in the future is accountability," Jaber wrote in his letter to Obama. Fusion notes that the court proceedings could ultimately "[peel] back some of the layers of secrecy surrounding America’s use of drones in its wars."

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