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One year since the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki CagePrisoners publishes a report which reveals what role he really played in the Al-Qaeda leadership

“How excellent would it be if you ask brother Basir to send us the resume, in detail and lengthy, of brother Anwar al-‘Awlaqi, as well as the facts he relied on when recommending him…and how excellent would it be if he gives us a chance to be introduced to him more…”

– Usamah Bin Laden (more than a year after US Justice Department’s memo ‘legalising’ the targeted killing of Awlaki)

“As for my husband who was assassinated by a US drone exactly one year from today, I believe strongly that his killing has nothing to do with the allegations by the US that he has links to terrorist attacks, but rather to silence him because of his influence on Muslims in the Western world as a Muslim scholar and preacher…the drone programme is wrong and illegal because it kills a lot more civilians than so called [high] valuable targets.”

– Gihan Mohsen Baker, wife of Anwar al-Awlaki

Exactly a year ago, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike carried out by the US in Northern Yemen – only one of scores that are dying as part of a programme of extrajudicial killings.

On the anniversary of his killing, CagePrisoners releases its report “Unnecessary and Disproportional: The Killing of Anwar and Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki”.

This report analyses and challenges the narrative developed by various governments and media outlets to justify the assassination of the Muslim cleric, presenting him as a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the mastermind behind several attacks against the USA.  The report also highlights how dangerous such a narrative can be as it extends to include the targeting and killing of Awlaki’s 16 year old son, also an American citizen, a few days later.

With only a few weeks left until Election Day, most people will be focused on the election campaigns of President Obama – few will remember that it is under Obama’s leadership that the policy of targeted killings has intensified and expanded.  This report will throw light on the legal and moral inconsistencies that appear as a Nobel Peace Prize winning President continues developing his drone programme enabling him to carry out extra-judicial killings across the globe, picking off targets on a ‘kill list’ once a week.

Through the case study of Anwar and Abdur Rahman al-Awlaki, questions are also raised about the UK’s involvement in targeted killings as more evidence emerges of British citizens that have been killed in drone attacks including evidence to suggest that British authorities actively assist the CIA in its drone programme.

CagePrisoners demands complete transparency in relation to the process by which individuals are placed on President Obama’s ‘kill list’, independent investigations into civilian deaths and injuries during drone strikes and the end to British complicity and the complicity of any other States, with US drone strikes.

Moazzam Begg, Director of CagePrisoners and former detainee at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay says: “In 2001, the Bush administration initiated its rendition program, organising the kidnapping, torture and illegal detention of Muslims all across the world, a program in which I was a victim before being released without any explanation. Many hoped that President Obama would end this War of Terror.  However, not only did he not stop, he went further by assassinating anyone that he deemed a terror suspect. We now know that the United Kingdom was fully aware and fully involved in Bush’s rendition program and abuses including the torture and unlawful imprisonment of some of its own nationals. Likewise and sadly, there is little doubt that British authorities are complicit in Obama’s programme of extra-judicial killing. Several years ago, CagePrisoners supported Anwar Al-Awlaki since he was detained without charge or trial. Today, we feel compelled to release this report since he was executed without charge or trial”

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)