Yemeni Drone Victim Responds to President Obama's Civilian Casualty Figures

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Yemeni Drone Victim Responds to President Obama's Civilian Casualty Figures

WASHINGTON - A Yemeni victim of the U.S. drone killing program has called on the Obama Administration to reveal whether his family was included in civilian casualty numbers released last week.

Faisal bin ali Jaber, an engineer from Yemen, has repeatedly asked the Administration to publicly admit that the killing of his brother-in-law and nephew in a U.S. drone strike in 2012 was a mistake. His brother-in-law, Salem bin ali Jaber, was an anti-extremist imam who was known for speaking out against al-Qaeda in his sermons, and his nephew, Waleed bin ali Jaber, was a local policeman.  

Writing in The Hill today, Mr al Jaber says: "The President's version of transparency - a simple number - does not help the families of the dead. It also does not help us achieve peace. How can Yemen’s young people make peace with the world when their first experience of the U.S. is hovering drones, killing innocents, where no-one will admit responsibility? 

"We simply want the same respect that the President gave to families of an American and Italian hostage killed in a strike: the public recognition that my family members were innocent, and that the U.S. killed them by mistake."

Jennifer Gibson, attorney at Reprieve, said: ""Friday’s announcement by the Administration was not only missing the truth, it was also missing the faces and names of the hundreds of civilians who have been killed by this secretive CIA program - faces like Faisal. These families deserve more than they got Friday. They deserve to know whether they were among the numbers and they deserve the same apology this Administration delivered to the families of western hostages who were killed. Anything less is not transparency. Until we know who we have killed, far from any battlefield, we can’t begin to make amends or have the public debate this program demands.”

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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

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