Judge dismisses US cleric targeted-killing suit

A judge dismissed a lawsuit by the father of US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki which sought to block the US government from killing man.

Judge dismisses US cleric targeted-killing suit

A judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by the father of US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki which sought to block the US government from killing man.

Citing the difficulties of a "unique and extraordinary case" involving an American citizen abroad, US District Judge John Bates in an 83-page decision ruled that the obstacles in determining the merit of the constitutional challenges "require dismissal of this case at the outset."

The ruling was a defeat for civil liberties groups that brought the lawsuit on behalf of the father of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen.

U.S. District Judge John Bates threw out the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds.

Bates said the father lacked legal standing to bring the case and that his claims presented political questions that cannot be decided by the courts, requiring dismissal of the lawsuit without addressing the heart of the allegations.

U.S. officials have refused to officially confirm the existence of the program, although they have said the CIA gave the green light to capture or kill al-Awlaki, who has never been tried or convicted of any terrorism-related crime.

"The serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorization of the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen overseas must await another day or another (non-judicial) forum," Bates concluded in his 83-page ruling.

The judge called it a unique, extraordinary case. "Vital considerations of national security and military and foreign affairs ... are at play," he wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that brought the case, said it still believed the U.S. government's power to use lethal force against American citizens should be subject to meaningful court oversight.

"If the court's ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation," said Jameel Jaffer, the group's deputy legal director.

The administration advanced a number of arguments on why the lawsuit should be dismissed.

The judge said he was throwing out the lawsuit without embracing the administration's claims that the case could expose national security state secrets.


Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Aralık 2010, 17:02
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