Amnesty International, Responding to Attorney General's Comments, Says U.S. Drone Campaign Runs Risk of "Vigilante Justice"

Press Release
March 6, 2012

Amnesty International, Responding to Attorney General's Comments, Says U.S. Drone Campaign Runs Risk of "Vigilante Justice"

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(Washington) -- Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA policy director for terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights, issued the following comments today in response to Attorney General Eric Holder's speech addressing national security and the U.S. drone campaign:

"While we welcome the attorney general's addressing these important issues, we are concerned that the drone program runs the risk of being vigilante justice -- a small group meeting in secret and ending lives on the basis of intelligence they will not disclose and that is not subject to review.

One of the most important rights is the right to a fair trial in which to face our accusers. Drone use presumes guilt and exacts a deadly irreversible punishment.

Intelligence can be wrong, mistakes can be made and missiles go astray. Justice cannot be served from 10,000 feet.

If America embraces a policy of targeted killings it will embolden other states that will do the same. The United States will cede its moral authority to object to targeted killings by repressive states around the world that target opponents, including  politicians, investigative journalists and human rights activists.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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