Hague taken to court over drone bombings

By Charles Maggs

William Hague is being taken to court amid accusations that the government's policy towards drone attacks in Pakistan is illegal.

Noor Khan, whose father was killed by a US drone attack in Waziristan, the war-torn province in North-Western Pakistan, is demanding clarity over the UK's role in supplying intelligence to US forces and the legality of such acts.

"This case is about the legality of the UK government providing 'locational intelligence' to the US for use in drone strikes in Pakistan," said Rosa Curling, a Reprieve lawyer representing Khan.

"An off-the-record GCHQ [Government Communication Head Quarters] source stated to a number of media outlets that GCHQ assistance was being provided to the US for use in drone attacks and this assistance was ‘in accordance with the law.’ We have advised our client that this is incorrect.

"The secretary of state has misunderstood the law on this extremely important issue and a declaration from the court confirming the correct legal position is required as a matter of priority."

Hague is being pursued in his role as foreign secretary, not as a private citizen and is not expected to be in court in person for the two day hearing which begins tomorrow.

Drones are unmanned, remotely controlled aircraft that carry out bombings frequently in Pakistan and have caused diplomatic rifts among allies in Afghanistan.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said of the drone attacks: "It is the longstanding policy of successive governments not to comment on intelligence matters." It did not offer a comment on Khan's case either, citing ongoing legal proceedings.