Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Yemeni victims of U.S. drone strike get $1M in compensation

WASHINGTON — The Yemeni government paid the families of those killed or injured in a U.S. drone strike last year more than $1 million, according to documents that provide new details on secret condolence payments seen as evidence that civilians with no ties to al-Qaida were among the casualties.

The documents, which are signed by Yemeni court officials and victims' relatives, record payouts designed to quell anger over a U.S. strike that hit vehicles in a wedding party and prompted a suspension of the U.S. military's authority to carry out drone attacks on an al-Qaida affiliate.

The records reveal payments that are many times larger than Yemeni officials acknowledged after the strike. The $1 million-plus figure also exceeds the total amount distributed by the U.S. military for errant strikes in Afghanistan over an entire year.

The documents also contain other details, including the identities of those killed or wounded in the Dec. 12 operation by the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command. Among them were a father and son with identification cards listing them as associates of a Yemeni organization working to curb Islamist militancy. The father survived the strike but his 29-year-old son was killed.

The records were provided to the Washington Post by Reprieve, a London-based human rights organization that has worked in Yemen to document civilian casualties of the U.S. drone campaign.

Kat Craig, a legal director for the group, said the records undermine U.S. claims "that the victims of this drone attack were anything other than civilians" and said the size of the payouts suggest that the Yemeni government — among the poorest in the Middle East — is being reimbursed by the United States.

The records indicate that families of those killed were each given Yemeni currency worth $60,000, with smaller amounts paid to those who sustained injuries or whose vehicles were damaged or destroyed. "In Yemen, that is a life-changing amount of money," Craig said. "I can't believe those types of figures would be initiated by the Yemeni government."

U.S. officials declined to comment on the Dec. 12 strike or any U.S. role in the payments but acknowledged offering money to victims and their families when civilians are injured or killed.

"Although we will not comment on specific cases, were non-combatants killed or injured in a U.S. strike, condolence or other ex gratia payments, such as solatia, may be available," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

Yemeni victims of U.S. drone strike get $1M in compensation 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.