A Pakistani man whose father was killed by a US drone strike is to appeal a judgement in a case seeking to determine the legality of intelligence sharing in relation to GCHQ assistance in CIA drone strikes.
Noor Khan - whose father was killed in a CIA strike on a peaceful meeting in March 2011 –issued legal proceedings in March of this year against the Foreign Secretary in order to clarify the British Government’s reported policy of supporting the CIA’s covert campaign of attacks on his home region of Waziristan, using remotely-controlled robotic aircraft.
Supported by legal action charity Reprieve and solicitors Leigh Day & Co, Mr Khan’s legal challenge asserts that this practice are illegal. British law makes it clear that in these circumstances UK intelligence staff and those who direct their actions could be committing various criminal offences, including conspiracy to murder.
Mr Khan was today denied permission to progress his case to a full hearing, but intends to appeal his case immediately.
The issue of CIA drones killing innocent civilians is also being pursued before the Peshawar High Court in Pakistan, where Chief Justice Dost Muhammad has already instructed the Pakistani Government to share details of strikes, including that of March 2011, with the parties in order to determine the extent of the casualties.
The suit in the Peshawar High Court is also asking the Pakistani government to disclose their involvement - if any - in the drone strikes. The next hearing in this case is expected early next year when the Pakistani government will have to disclose the identities of those killed in the strikes.
Kat Craig, legal director of Reprieve, said: “CIA drone attacks in Pakistan terrorise entire communities of innocent civilians in a country with which the UK is not at war. By avoiding judicial scrutiny over drone attacks, combined with its ongoing attempts to push through secret courts, this government is showing a disturbing desire to put itself above the law. We should not be involved in secret, dirty wars, where civilian casualties are ignored or hushed up. If the Government is supporting the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes which are illegal, the British public have the right to know.”
Rosa Curling, from Leigh Day, said: "We are disappointed that the court has decided not to engage in this very important issue, leaving our client no option but to appeal the decision. This claim raises very serious questions and issues about the UK's involvement in the CIA drone attacks in Pakistan. This case seeks to determine the legality of intelligence sharing in relation to GCHQ assistance in CIA drone strikes. Those providing such information could be committing serious criminal offences, including conspiracy to murder."