Meet Malik Jalal, who is on the Drone Kill List
April 11, 2016
In the third revelation in recent days concerning a so-called ‘Kill List’ of individuals to be targeted in US strikes, today Reprieve client Malik Jalal took to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to ask the US and the UK to stop trying to kill him.
Invited by Lord Ken MacDonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Malik Jalal has traveled from Waziristan, Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan, to ask parliamentarians and the government that he be taken off the Kill List.Today, Malik Jalal has served a letter on Home Secretary Theresa May, who has oversight of MI5 and the NCA and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who has responsibility for GCHQ and MI6, copied in to the US Ambassador. The letter details the prior attempts on his life, and the impact on him, his family and his colleagues in the NWPC. He asks for meetings to clear his name, and to get off the Kill List.
Malik Jalal (“Malik” is a term of respect for a local tribal leader) has been targeted for death four times, but the Hellfire missile has narrowly missed each time. He has told the BBC that his young children live in terror of dying in a missile attack, and that he has been warned by various authorities in the area that he is on the Kill List. He is being targeted because of his work for the North Waziristan Peace Committee (NWPC), trying to bring peace between the Taliban and the Government of Pakistan. Western intelligence agents believe that the NWPC allows the Taliban a safe haven in Waziristan.The NWPC has said they want peace for their community, their families and themselves.
His visit to Britain comes a day after Reprieve released a report – Britain’s Kill List – which details the first Kill List of the so-called “War on Terror”, where the UK worked with the US to target not just terrorist suspects, but also narcotics traffickers, in the area where Malik Jalal lives. While the Kill List was originally focused on terrorism, the Reprieve report reveals, in late 2001 UK officials are said to have “screamed” to include those they suspected of drug trafficking between Afghanistan and Pakistan. While they initially failed to persuade the US National Security Agency (NSA) to do this, with the support of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) the UK later won the argument, and drug traffickers were included on the Kill List.
That report follows a Vice investigation, published last Thursday, which found that UK military personnel play a “critical” role in the US drone Kill List programme in Yemen. The UK activity is understood include so-called “hits”, “triangulating” intelligence for kill lists, and preparing “target packages”.
The reports have caused concern that Prime Minister David Cameron misled parliament on September 7th, 2015, when he said that the assassination of two British nationals in Syria was a “new departure” for the UK. It now appears Britain has been closely involved in Kill List activity for 14 years.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is scheduled to issue its own report on UK transparency in the use of drones soon.
Commenting, Malik Jalal said: “All I want is for the West to stop trying to kill me, my family and my colleagues with the North Waziristan Peace Committee. They have tried to kill me four times, and my children are terrified. This Kill List is just making things far worse in my homeland.”
Shahzad Akbar, Malik Jalal’s Pakistani lawyer, and Director of the Islamabad Foundation for Fundamental Rights, said: “Malik Jalal has come all the way to this country to try to speak with people about how he can get off their Kill List and try to protect his family and friends. He is willing to speak to anyone at any time in any place to convince them that this killing is both immoral and counterproductive.”
Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve, said: “It is horrifying that, in the 21st Century, we have drawn up a list of people we want to kill. For a country that loudly proclaims its opposition to the death penalty even after a fair trial, the notion that we would execute him without a trial at all stunningly hypocritical. Malik Jalal puts a very human face on the horror of this policy. If democracy means anything at all, the Prime Minister must order a full and transparent inquiry into the Kill List, starting today.”
Notes to editors
1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. For further information, please contact Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith at clive [AT] reprieve.org.uk / 07885649246; or the Reprieve press office at communications [AT] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8160; Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine.oshea [AT] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064.
2. Malik Jalal’s interview with the BBC is available here.
4. Today Colin Firth and Gavin Hood are staging the premiere of their latest film “Eye in the Sky”, a fictional treatment of a UK Kill List.