Press conference tomorrow: Launch of International Drones Summit 1230(EST) Thurs April 26 Washington DC

April 25, 2012

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Press launch: 1230 EST Thurs April 26th National Press Club, 14th & F Streets NW, Washington DC

International Drone Summit: 9am to 9pm EST Sat Apr 28, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC              

This weekend’s international Drone Summit aims to bring transparency and the rule of law to the CIA’s covert targeted killing programme in Pakistan and beyond.

The Summit will feature new video testimony from victims, and will provide first-ever US domestic access to Pakistani drone-strike victims’ lawyers and to experts with first-hand experience of drone warfare in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Speaking at both the press launch and the conference will be Shahzad Akbar, co-founder of the Pakistani human rights organization Foundation for Fundamental Rights, who filed the first case in Pakistan on behalf of family members of civilian victims of CIA drone strikes and has been a critical force in advocating on victims’ behalf.

Press launch speakers include: Shahzad Akbar, Pakistani lawyer who represents drone victims and their families; Tom Barry, expert on drone use to monitor illegal immigration along US borders, Center for International Policy; Jay Stanley, expert on use of drones in U.S. & privacy issues, ACLU; Pardiss Kebriaei, counsel in Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, (regarding targeted killings by the executive in zones outside of armed conflict) Center for Constitutional Rights; moderated by Medea Benjamin, author: Drone Warfare, Killing by Remote Control, organizer drone summit, co-founder CODEPINK.

International Drones Summit speakers include: Pakistani Member of Parliament Amna Buttar; Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve who works with drone victims; Hina Shamsi, ACLU national security expert; David Glazier, a professor of law who served 21 years as a U.S. Navy surface warfare officer; Medea Benjamin, summit organizer and author of the new book “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”; award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill; Chris Woods, a senior reporter with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism who exposed CIA drone attacks on rescuers and funeral-goers in Pakistan; Trevor Timm, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and members of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.  Organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve and CODEPINK.



1. For more information please contact  Suzanne Turner, (202) 744-9161, Ramah Kudaimi, (708) 822-5880,

2. The International Drone Summit is bringing together human rights advocates, robotics technology experts, lawyers, journalists and activists in an effort to inform the American public about the widespread and rapidly expanding deployment of both lethal and surveillance drones, including within the United States. The U.S. has entered a dangerous new chapter in its use of remote-controlled, unmanned aerial vehicles. The CIA and Department of Defense are deploying drones to kill people overseas – including three American citizens – with impunity, and a new federal law kicks in this June that will compel the FAA to allow wide-scale use of drones in U.S. airspace for all types of purposes by September 2015. Homeland Security and some regional law enforcement agencies are already employing drones in their manhunts. Perilously missing from the current U.S. drone policy are comprehensive oversight, coordination and regulation.

3. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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