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UK Government challenged over complicity in CIA drone attacks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 17, IRNA -- The British government is being challenged to clarify what the UK’s policy is on providing intelligence used by the US in its ‘targeted killing’ campaign.

Lawyers for the son of a victim of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan have written to the Foreign Secretary William Hague to provide answers to key questions on how far the UK assists the US in its drone strike programme.

The letter from Leigh Day & Co, acting on behalf of Noor Khan, asks Hague whether the UK passed information to the US which was or may have been used in the attack on a jirga in North West Pakistan which killed his father on 17 March 2011.

Several reports have stated that British intelligence agencies provided information on the whereabouts of alleged ‘militants’ targeted by the CIA’s illegal campaign, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians.

'This legal action simply looks to ask a number of questions of our Government regarding UK involvement in the drone strikes in Pakistan which, it is estimated, have killed thousands of people within a country we are not militarily engaged with and therefore, we believe, are against international law,” said Richard Stein, Head of the Human Rights team at Leigh Day.

“We ask the Foreign Secretary whether any information is being passed by agents of the UK Government to US Government forces to assist in these attacks,” Stein said in a statement obtained by IRNA.

“Unless it is categorically denied that the UK continues to pass such information to the US Government forces, we require a clear policy statement of the arrangements which are in place and circumstances in which the UK considers it to be lawful to do so,' he said.

Questions include also whether he accepts that the attack on Khan’s family and drone attacks in Pakistan generally are contrary to international law and, if not, why not.

Clive Stafford Smith, director of legal action charity Reprieve, said that CIA drone strikes are killing huge numbers of civilians and destabilising Pakistan.

“The British people have a right to know what their country’s policy is regarding our involvement in this illegal and disastrous campaign,” Stafford Smith said.

The challenge comes after Iran has threatened to sue the US over the incursion of one of its drone, captured while spying on the country.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30716646



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