Supporting Yemeni Drone Victims' Pursuit of Justice

Debra Sweet | May 29, 2015

Ramstein-drone-protest-NYC-May2015
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, together with his family members, has brought a case against the German government for allowing the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base for the U.S. drone killings. In NYC Tuesday, the Granny Peace Brigade, KnowDrones.com and World Can't Wait protested outside the German consulate to the United Nations. The latest on German case is that the court denied the lawsuit, but the Yemenis can appeal.

Al Jazeera America reports:

Faisal bin Ali Jaber is scheduled to testify at the administrative court in the German city of Cologne, which will open a trial to assess Berlin’s alleged role in the U.S. drone program. But he will be unable to make the trip due to travel restrictions in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is attempting to quell a rebellion by Shia Houthi fighters. Instead, Faisal's testimony will be read before the court.

The hearing follows a report from news website The Intercept, based on a leaked intelligence document, confirming that the U.S. military’s Ramstein Air Base in western Germany has been the site of a “satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest” to connect with drones in “targeted countries,” including Yemen.

Mr. bin Ali writes, 

Dear Friends,
I am hugely grateful for your support of my attempts to seek justice. It has been a tragic time for my family, and for Yemen. Drones have terrorised our communities, and killed so many innocent people – like my brother in law and nephew – who were men of peace. I have brought this case in the hope that the German courts – and more importantly, the German people - will hear our story, and make the changes necessary to protect the men, women and children of Yemen. We are devastated by our loss, but nothing will bring Salem and Walid back. Now, we must stand together, and look to the future. We must succeed so that other families do not have to suffer like mine have, and so that we can find a true and peaceful resolution for Yemen. Because we know, better than anyone, that you cannot drone a country into peace and stability.

This has been a difficult and long journey, and – despite the wonderful support of my legal teams at Reprieve and ECCHR – I am just one man. To know that you stand with me, and with the people of Yemen, is a huge comfort and a great inspiration. I thank you from the bottom of my heart – on behalf of myself, my family and the people of Yemen -  and hope and pray that you will keep up all your efforts to bring justice and peace to my country.

Debra Sweet is the director of World Can't Wait, and tweets at @dsweetwcw.