Civil liberties groups challenge constitutionality of secret U.S. program to target terror suspects for killing

August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Civil liberties groups challenge constitutionality of secret U.S. program to target terror suspects for killing

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ACLU challenges targeted assassinations of Americans by USThe American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the U.S. government’s authority to target and kill U.S. citizens outside of war zones when they are suspected of involvement in terrorism.

The civil liberties groups sued in U.S. District Court in Washington after being retained by the father of Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born cleric who is in hiding in Yemen.

The CIA placed Aulaqi on its list of suspected terrorists it is authorized to kill earlier this year; the cleric had been on a separate list of individuals targeted by the Joint Special Operations Command.

“The United States cannot simply execute people, including its own citizens, anywhere in the world based on its own say-so,” Vince Warren, executive director of CCR, said in a written statement. “That the government adds people to kill lists after a bureaucratic process and leaves them on the lists for months at a time flies in the face of the Constitution and international law.”

The groups said that the Constitution prohibits targeted killings absent a trial and due process, except as a last resort to prevent specific and imminent threats of death or serious injury.

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