Judge rejects Saudi bid to dismiss 9/11 lawsuits

U.S. judge rejects Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan September 11, 2001, attacks.

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Ben Ariel,

World Trade Center 9/11 attacks
World Trade Center 9/11 attacks
Reuters

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the September 11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims, Reuters reported.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said the plaintiffs’ allegations “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis” for him to assert jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a 2016 federal law.

The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks or support for the Al Qaeda terrorist organization.

Congress passed legislation in 2016 opening the door to lawsuits against Saudi Arabia, prompted in part by evidence collected over 15 years, suggesting possible ties between the Saudi embassy and the 9/11 attackers.

British media reported in 2016 that evidence uncovered in 2002 links the Saudi Arabian government with the 9/11 attacks.

American authorities discovered the flight certificate of would-be hijacker Ghassan Al-Shrabi in an envelope from the Saudi embassy to Washington during the latter's 2002 arrest in Pakistan, officials revealed at the time.

Details about the certificate and other documents were quietly released by officials in 2015, in a memo entitled Document 17 from back in 2003.

Lawyers for Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday’s decision.

Daniels’ decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers, noted Reuters.

Daniels said the plaintiffs could try to prove that Saudi Arabia was liable for the alleged activities of Fahad al Thumairy, an imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, and Omar al Bayoumi, said to be an intelligence officer.

They were accused of helping two hijackers acclimate themselves to the United States, and begin preparing for the attacks.

James Kreindler, a lawyer for many of the plaintiffs, said he was “delighted” the case can proceed.

“We have been pressing to proceed with the case and conduct discovery from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so that the full story can come to light, and expose the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks,” he told Reuters.








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