Saudi Arabia must face lawsuits on Sept 11 2001, attacks says U.S. judge

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

Lawyers for Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision. At a Saudi stock market event in New York, asked whether the court decision would have a negative impact on Saudi investment in the United States, Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed A. ElKuwaiz declined to comment, saying he had not seen the news.Daniels’ decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers.That changed in September 2016, when the U.S. Congress overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of JASTA, allowing such cases to proceed.

Obama had warned that the law could expose U.S. companies, troops and officials to lawsuits in other countries.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.Saudi Arabia had argued that the plaintiffs could not show that any Saudi official, employee or agent planned or carried out 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 said in a phone interview.