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William Hague sued over Pakistan drone strikes

William Hague, the British foreign secretary, is being sued over Pakistan drone strikes.

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It is reported on March 11, 2012, that Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague is likely to be sued by a London law firm for complicity in passing information to the US while it planned drone attacks. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Human rights lawyers are going to sue British Foreign Secretary William Hague for allegedly using intelligence to assist American drone strikes in Pakistan, according to the BBC.

The case is being considered at the High Court in London, on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was killed in a drone strike.

Khan's father, Malik Daud Khan, was part of a local council of elders holding a meeting in northwest Pakistan when a drone-fired missile hit the group, according to the law firm. Khan was among 40 killed in the attack, according to the Guardian.

The lawyers said that civilian intelligence officers who passed on information may also be liable as "secondary parties to murder," according to the BBC.

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Richard Stein, the head of human rights at London law firm Leigh Day & Co., said, "We believe that there is credible, unchallenged evidence that the secretary of state is operating a policy of passing intelligence to officials or agents of the US government; and that he considers such a policy to be 'in strict accordance' with the law," according to the Guardian.

The lawyers plan to argue that those involved in planning the drone attacks can only claim immunity from criminal prosecution if they are "lawful combatants," according to Reuters. Since the staff working at the UK's Government Communications Headquarters are mostly civilians, they are not classified as combatants in an "armed international conflict" and could be prosecuted, said the law firm.

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The director of the charity Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith, said, "What has the government got to hide? If they're not supplying information as part of the CIA's illegal drone war, why not tell us? And if they are, they need to come clean."

A Foreign Office spokesman said, "We don’t comment on intelligence matters," when asked about whether the UK helped the US in drone attacks, according to Reuters.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120311/william-hague-sued-over-pakistan-drone-strikes