June 11, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a response in district court to the government’s recent admission that it killed the three U.S. citizens at issue in their lawsuit, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta. In a letter to Congress on May 22, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that the United States killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, who died in drone strikes in Yemen in 2011. The organizations issued the following statement:
Two years after the fact, the president declassified what the entire world knew to be true—that the government killed three American citizens, including a 16-year-old boy. Now, the government continues to insist that the courts have no role in evaluating the legality of its actions. But the executive branch cannot simply declare the killings lawful and attempt to close the book on that basis. A federal judge, not executive officials examining their own conduct, must determine the constitutionality of the government's actions. We look forward to pressing that argument in court next month.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.