• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Yemeni sues Germany over US drone strikes

The Local · 16 Oct 2014, 11:54

Published: 16 Oct 2014 11:54 GMT+02:00

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, brother-in-law and uncle respectively to the two men killed in the attack, submitted his complaint to the Cologne administrative court on Wednesday.

Imam Salim bin Ali Jaber and his cousin Waleed, a policeman, were killed by missiles launched from American drones on August 29th, 2012, eyewitnesses told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

They were meeting with three men believed to have connections to terrorist group al-Qaeda.

But the imam had called on local people to stand up to al-Qaeda in a sermon at Friday prayers just days before, Ali Jaber said, and his relatives were meeting the men to respond to their questions about it.

“Were it not for the help of Germany and Ramstein [airbase], men like my brother-in-law and nephew might still be alive today,” Ali Jaber said in a statement.

“I am here to ask that the German people and Parliament be told the full extent of what is happening in their country, and that the German government stops Ramstein being used to help the US' illegal and devastating drone war.”

Ramstein: a node in the drone net

The American airbase at Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, is the largest US overseas airbase and a keystone of the unmanned aircraft programme.

All the data used to control the aircraft and all the images they record are transmitted from the drones via satellite to the base's Air and Space Operations Centre, and from there by fibre-optic cable to pilots on the US mainland.

Now Ali Jaber wants the German government to prevent such data transfers through its territory, saying that his countrymen are entitled to the right to life enshrined in the German constitution.

He is being supported in the case by human rights organizations Reprieve and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve, said: “The evidence that Ramstein is a crucial peg in the US drone war is overwhelming. It’s now incumbent on the German courts to uphold the principles that are enshrined in German law that make German complicity and co-operation in killing people like Salim and Waleed unlawful."

"Faisal approached Reprieve about representing him, including in legal proceedings, to get some semblance of justice for his relatives and the communities in Yemen that are being so devastated by US drones."

Andreas Schueller, from ECCHR, addedd: “Ramstein is crucial for US drone warfare. Germany has to bring it to an end – if not it is complicit in the death of civilians."

The US government has repeatedly defended its drone war saying it takes "extraordinary care" to comply with international law.

It argues the drone strikes which target terror suspects were the course of action "least likely to results in the loss of innocent life".

Legal hurdles

This is not the first court case brought in Germany over the use of its territory to support drone strikes in the Middle East.

In 2013, federal prosecutors found that a drone attack on a German jihadist in Pakistan was not a war crime, as the man was a member of an armed group.

Story continues below…

American forces in Germany have been regulated by the Nato Status of Forces agreement since the 1950s.

The document provides that “military forces and civilian personnel are allowed to take required measures for the satisfactory fulfillment of its defence obligations on the provided premises.”

Legal experts have previously said that a successful challenge to US military activities on German soil would have to show that a crime was committed under international law.

Meanwhile, the German government has claimed in the past that it has “no knowledge” of the use to which the US facilities at Ramstein are put.

And on a state visit in June 2013, US President Barack Obama told journalists that Germany is not used as a “launching point” for drone strikes in the Middle East when challenged about the use of the base.

SEE ALSO: Germans want cooler relations with USA

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd