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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The 5th Amendment of US Law and Constitution

Legal interpretation of 5th Amendment
US born cleric Anwar al Awlaki was killed in a drone attack in Yemen. Many Americans not aware of the factual situation cited the Fifth Amendment which states that no one can be deprived of life without due process of law. In fact one of the civil liberty groups ACLU has sued the Obama administration on this killing. Many Americans also question the use of the 5th amendment and fear it is the beginning of a police state.
But what are the facts and what is the legal position? As a man who has studied law, I tend to agree with the statement of Attorney general Eric Holder. In an address to the Northwestern University’s law school Holder raised pertinent points. Holder pointed out that due process of law does not mean judicial process. I think he is correct, as what is stated in the 5th amendment is due process of law and not judicial process. Due process of law means that the executive is satisfied that the concerned person is a terrorist or a ring leader of a terrorist movement like Anwar al Awlaki. It is now confirmed that Anwar al Awlaki was neck deep in his involvement of the attempted bombing of the Detroit bound passenger air liner on 25 December, 2009. It appears he was a mere propagandist earlier, but graduated to a ring leader of al Qaeda.
The above information had come to light after the bomber Abdul Mutallab was arrested by the FBI and interrogated.  People must understand that the 5thamendment is not something that allows a citizen to plot to explode bombs and kill Americans and then take shelter behind this amendment. I am glad to note that in a recent poll 63% of the pollsters felt it was right to kill people like Anwar al Awlaki.
The Obama administration has gone with a single minded purpose of drone attacks against men who threaten the USA. Holder is right when he says the USA cannot wait till such time as these men carry out their nefarious activities. I think there is a lesson for this for India which with an insipid Congress government is played into the hands of the extremist Islamic groups in the guise of vote politics .Perhaps things may change with the BJP in power now. I think Americans also must not read much in the use of the 5th amendment which is a necessary part of the war on terror.

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen October 2008, ta...
Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen October 2008, taken by Muhammad ud-Deen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)