More evidence of UK & European role in US drone strikes

London, United Kingdom (Reprieve) – The Guardian and the New York Times have today revealed the existence of documents showing the contribution made by UK intelligence agency GCHQ to US drone strikes in Yemen.

The British Government has to date refused to comment on its role in such strikes, describing them consistently as “a matter for the Yemeni and US Governments.”

However, human rights organization Reprieve has previously raised concerns over European complicity in covert drone strikes – considered by many experts to be in violation of international law – through the sharing of intelligence and the provision of infrastructure.

In Germany, Reprieve has helped civilian drone strike victim Faisal bin ali Jaber to bring a case against the Government over the role played in Yemen strikes by the military base at Ramstein.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Reprieve unearthed a contract showing that a high-tech data link had been provided between RAF Croughton – a base leased by the US in Lincolnshire – and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, from where US strikes against Yemen have reportedly been launched.

Commenting, Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said:

“This is yet more damning evidence of the key role played by the UK in the illegal US drone war.  This campaign has taken place in the shadows, killing hundreds of civilians while leaving their families with no access to justice.  President Obama won’t even confirm it is taking place; while the UK and Germany follow his lead by stonewalling questions on the part they play.  It is time Europe came clean on the support it provides to this misguided campaign, which the evidence suggests is making the world a more dangerous place for all of us.”

Predator. Image Source: David Smith, Flickr, Creative Commons

Predator.
Image Source: David Smith, Flickr, Creative Commons

This report was prepared by Reprieve. 

Reprieve is a small organisation of courageous and committed human rights defenders. Founded in 1999 by British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, we provide free legal and investigative support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people: British, European and other nationals facing execution, and those victimised by states’ abusive counter-terror policies – rendition, torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and extrajudicial killing.