BERLIN — A Yemeni man filed a suit against the German government Wednesday for allegedly letting the United States use an air base in Germany for lethal drone strikes.
In a lawsuit filed with an administrative court in the western city of Cologne, Faisal bin Ali Jaber claims his brother-in-law, Salim bin Ahmed Ali Jaber, and nephew, Waleed, were killed by a U.S. drone in a Yemeni village in August 2012. The drone was allegedly controlled via the U.S. air base at Ramstein in southwestern Germany.
“We believe that is unlawful and the German constitution carries a responsibility to protect the lives of individuals even in cases where they are not resident in Germany,” said Kat Craig, legal director of Reprieve, one of two human rights groups representing bin Ali Jaber.
She said bin Ahmed Ali Jaber, an Islamic preacher, and his son Waleed, a policeman, probably weren’t the intended targets of the missile that killed them.
Craig said evidence for the claim about the Ramstein base’s role in the transmission of flight control data from pilots in the United States to drones in the Middle East had emerged in several media reports and German government responses to lawmakers’ questions over the past year.
The most recent claim to this effect appeared in the documentary “Citizenfour” by Laura Poitras, an American film maker based in Berlin, who has received many of the secret U.S. intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert denied Wednesday that U.S. air bases in Germany are used for extrajudicial killings.
Craig said no lawsuit had yet been filed against the United States.