Daily Israel Report

Families of 9/11 Victims Appeal NY Court Decision on Remains

Relatives of victims of Sept. 11 attacks are appealing a court decision that will decide where unidentified remains will rest.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/20/2012, 1:17 PM

Iron worker Billy Geoghan secures a memorial beam, signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and others,
Iron worker Billy Geoghan secures a memorial beam, signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and others,
Reuters

Family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks are appealing a court decision that will ultimately decide where thousands of unidentified remains will rest.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum decided to keep the unidentified remains underground near the museum saying it had received "overwhelming feedback" from families that led to the decision to house the remains in a repository "on the sacred ground of the site," according to the museum’s website.

However, the plan has sparked opposition with many of the families who claim that they “were neither meaningfully notified nor consulted about this plan, and many have objected to it."

Jim Riches, chairman of the Families and Parents of Firefighters and World Trade Center Victims, told CNN that one of his group's members polled families on a list of about 1,000 e-mail addresses. "Of the 350 families who responded, 95% said they wanted the remains to be above ground like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," Riches said, referring to the Washington site dedicated to U.S. service members whose remains were not identified.

The families filed a petition requesting contact information for the 2,749 family members of 9/11 victims. On October 25, the New York trial court denied the petition, saying that releasing that information would violate privacy laws. On Friday, the 17 families filed an appeal in New York County Supreme Court, CNN reported.

The goal of the appeal is to have the city release a list of family members to "(seek) their input regarding the City's current plan to place the unidentified human remains in the Museum."

The 17 family members that are appealing believe the state's Freedom of Information Law should allow them access to the list of names.

"The city has already given the names and addresses to the 9/11 Memorial Museum," Riches said, according to CNN. "You can't pick and choose who you give the names to. Let the family members pick where they want the remains to be put. They're not letting us have any say."

Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said, ""The city will review the appeal."