For Immediate Release
CCR And ACLU Response To Report That The Government Will Bring Charges Against Anwar Al-Aulaqi
NEW YORK - The
Obama administration is considering filing criminal charges against
Anwar Al-Aulaqi, a U.S. citizen located in Yemen whom the U.S.
government has already targeted for death without charge or trial,
according to an AP story today.
In August, the American Civil
Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a
lawsuit challenging the government's asserted authority to carry out
"targeted killings" of U.S. citizens located far from any armed conflict
zone. The groups were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring the lawsuit
in connection with the government's decision to authorize the targeted
killing of his son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi. The groups charge that if the
government has evidence that a U.S. citizen is involved in terrorist
activity, he should be charged with a crime and prosecuted.
The following can be attributed to the ACLU and CCR:
"Our organizations have long stated
that if the government has evidence that Anwar Al-Aulaqi is involved in
terrorist activity, it should present that evidence to a court – not
authorize his execution without charge or trial. Now, months after the
government announced its intent to kill Al-Aulaqi, it may finally bring
charges against him. This would be a step in the right direction. The
constitutional guarantee of due process relies on the critical
distinction between allegations and evidence. If the reports that
charges may be brought against Al-Aulaqi are true, the fact that it has
taken the government this long – months after having announced his death
sentence – suggests that, in this case, the government's allegations
were far ahead of its evidence.
"While bringing charges against
Al-Aulaqi based on credible evidence would be a step in the right
direction, it would not mean that he could now be targeted for killing
without trial. It is well established that the government cannot use
extrajudicial killing to punish people for past acts, but only to
prevent grave and imminent threats. A criminal charge for past crimes
does not provide a license to kill.
"We continue to believe that the
courts must play a role in establishing legal standards for when the
government can take the life of one of its own citizens without charge
or trial. For that reason, we will continue with our litigation."