Anwar Al Awlaki

Why I spoke out on Anwar al-Awlaki

Karima Bennoune in CiF says:

I am a member of the board of trustees of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in the US and an international law professor of Muslim heritage. I spoke out in the Guardian of 15 November 2010 against CCR’s decision to represent pro bono the interests of Anwar al-Awlaki – a jihadist linked to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula – in litigation against the Obama administration over its stated intention to assassinate al-Awlaki.

As a human rights lawyer, I oppose extrajudicial killings in violation of international law, so I oppose a policy of targeted assassinations by the US government, whether applied to Awlaki or others. However, Awlaki has himself openly called for assassinations, and is at large and continuing to do so (pdf; see pages 24-28, in particular).

How can we defend the principle that assassinations are wrong by standing silently next to an advocate of assassinations? I urged CCR to find other ways to challenge the Obama administration’s policy without associating with Awlaki.

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