Monday, July 04, 2011

Pakistani Lawyer Blocked From U.S. After Suing CIA on Drone Strikes, July 3, 2011

Flickr / Defence Images
An armed unmanned aerial vehicle prepares for takeoff in Afghanistan early this year.

Pakistani lawyer and human rights champion Mirza Shahzad Akbar, who has aided the U.S. government in legal counterterrorism efforts, was banned from traveling to the States to speak at Columbia Law School after suing the CIA about drone strikes that have killed civilians in his country.

In an open letter, Akbar describes the plight of nonmilitant Pakistanis who have lost family and friends and suffered severe injuries in such attacks, and suggests the U.S. government—which purports to value justice and the rule of law—should honor those who have sought to redress their losses through legal rather than violent means. It is difficult to know exactly how many civilians have been killed by drones, but the Brookings Institution has put the number at more than 600, with 10 civilian deaths for every militant killed. —ARK

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