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Journalists allegedly targeted for drone strikes sue US government

[JURIST] Human rights group Reprieve [advocacy website] has filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] in the US District Court for District of Columbia [official website] against the US government for allegedly placing them on a "kill list" to be targeted for a deadly drone strike. Former Al Jazeera Islamabad [Newsweek report] bureau chief Ahmad Zaidan and freelance journalist Bilal Kareem claimed that they were erroneously added to the said list and stated that it was a violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law because of the lack of due process. The two journalists are seeking for declaratory and injunctive relief to remove their names from the said list.

The use of drones [JURIST backgrounder] is controversial in both domestic circles and in the international arena. In April the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] upheld [JURIST report] a district court's dismissal of an ACLU request for information about drone killings. In January the Second Circuit ruled that the president's National Security Council (NSC) [official website] is not subject [JURIST report] to FOIA. In November of last year the circuit also ruled that the US government may keep secret memoranda [JURIST report] related to the legal justification for the use of drones for targeted killings of those in other countries believed to be involved in terrorism. In June 2015 the families of two Yemeni men killed by US drone strikes filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the government, claiming they were wrongfully killed. In December 2010 a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the Obama administration's ability to conduct targeted killings, a challenge spurred because one subject of a targeted killing, al-Awlaki-Khan, was a dual US-Yemeni citizen.

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