Advocacy groups file information request on missile attack that killed Yemen civilians

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy websites] issued a request for information [text, PDF] to the US Department of Defense on Tuesday under the under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] regarding a December 2009 missile attack in Yemen that is alleged to have killed at least 35 civilians. The request cites a number of sources, including leaked diplomatic cables [JURIST news archive], that directly links the US military to the attacks. The request seeks:

information about the US government's legal basis in domestic, foreign, and international law for the US military strike on the al-Majalah community, information about the US government's decision-making process and factual basis for ordering that strike, and information concerning any investigations or assessments of the strike by or at the behest of the US government.
The request also calls for information regarding diplomatic efforts to cover up the US's role in the strike.

In February, the ACLU filed a lawsuit under FOIA demanding the US government release information about their targeted killing program of US citizens abroad. The lawsuit relates to the death of the US-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] who was killed in a US drone strike [JURIST report] in Yemen in September 2011. Targeted killings have been a controversial topic [JURIST comment] during the current war on terror.

 

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