US says in general terms it is lawful for the govt to target leaders of "enemy forces" regardless of their nationality
This photo, released by SITE Intelligence Group, shows a grab from new video lecture from US-Yemeni Al-Qaeda supporter Anwar al-Awlaqi. The radical US-born cleric was killed along with several other suspected Al-Qaeda operatives, in Yemen. © - AFP/HO/File
US says in general terms it is lawful for the govt to target leaders of
AFP
Last updated: October 7, 2011

Slain Qaeda militant's family hits out at US govt

The family of a Pakistani-American Al-Qaeda propagandist who died in an air strike in Yemen hit out at the US government for killing their "law-abiding" son, according to local media.

Samir Khan, who was the editor of "Inspire," Al-Qaeda's English-language magazine, was killed alongside US-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi six days ago in a suspected US drone strike.

But his family, who live in Charlotte, North Carolina, condemned the military operation and defended Khan in a statement released to a local newspaper and broadcasters after days of intense media scrutiny.

"It has been stated in the media that Samir was not the target of the attack; however no US official has contacted us with any news about the recovery of our son's remains, nor offered us any condolences," they said.

"As a result, we feel appalled by the indifference shown to us by our government," added the statement.

The killing of Awlaqi and Khan, 25, has weakened Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Thursday, but questions have been raised over the legality of the lethal air strike.

The Khan family said questions should be officially answered on why the terror targets could not have been captured and put on trial.

"Being a law abiding citizen of the United States our late son Samir Khan never broke any law and was never implicated of any crime," they said.

"The Fifth Amendment states that no citizen shall be 'deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law' yet our government assassinated two of its citizens.

"Where is the justice? As we mourn our son, we must ask these questions."

The White House declined to confirm reports whether its forces or CIA drones were involved in the raid on Awlaqi's convoy, but civil rights groups warned of a legal quagmire over the possible killing of Americans by the US government.

A US official, however, said last week that in general terms it was lawful for the United States to target high-level leaders of "enemy forces" regardless of their nationality, under domestic and international law that recognized the right of self-defense.

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