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27 April, 2015

When will Obama apologize for all the other innocent victims of drone strikes?

In the fall of 2013, Rafiq ur Rehman, a school teacher from the remote tribal region of North Waziristan, in Pakistan, stood with his 12-year-old son, Zubair, and 9-year-old daughter, Nabila, in Washington, D.C., preparing to challenge one of the U.S. government’s most secretive means of killing. The Rehmans say a missile fired from a U.S. drone killed 68-year-old Momina Bibi — Rehman’s mother, and grandmother to the two young children — in an October 2012 airstrike. Both Zubair and Nabila were present when the attack happened and suffered injuries. The missile had struck their grandmother straight on, obliterating her completely. There were no others killed in the attack and no substantiated reports of terrorists at the scene. According to the family’s account, Bibi was killed tending okra while her grandkids played nearby.”

The family came to the U.S. to demand answers. They were treated as honored guests among the human rights community in New York City, but when they met with lawmakers on October 20, 2013, a total of five members of Congress showed up. For Pakistani attorney Shahzad Akbar, who represents 150 victims of the strikes, including the Rehman family, President Barack Obama’s recent apology for the killing of two Americans merely underscores the double standard that exists for civilian death.”

Mustafa Qadri, an investigator with Amnesty International, has spent years conducting investigations in Pakistan, including into the strike that killed Momina Bibi. Speaking to The Intercept on Thursday, the human rights investigator said he was pained by the death of Weinstein, but noted that there are scores of other innocent people who have been killed in drone strikes. 'Obama’s statement is really moving,' Qadri said. 'And we welcome that, I welcome the fact he has done that.' But, he added, 'there are hundreds, potentially thousands of others who deserve the same apology.'”

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