The families of more than 2,000 victims of terrorism in the United States have sued Saudi Arabia — seeking restitution for the September 2001 attacks.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on Monday on behalf of 850 people who died and 1,500 injured on Sept. 11, 2001, when Al Qaeda operatives bombed the World Trade Centre in New York and crashed a plane.
The first 135 pages of the lawsuit list all the plaintiffs in the case — spouses, children, siblings, parents and representatives of those killed in the attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
For years, relatives of many victims have wanted to sue Saudi Arabia but federal law prevented them from doing so. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), passed last year, eliminated that foreign protection.
The plaintiffs argue in the suit that Saudi Arabia aided the terrorist plot through various means.
“Plaintiffs seek such relief against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the attributable acts of the Kingdom’s governmental Ministries and bodies, alter-egos, and officers, employees, and agents … by knowingly providing material support and resources to the al-Qaida terrorist organization and facilitating the September 11th Attacks,” the suit states.
The plaintiffs go on to argue that Saudi officials financially supported al-Qaeda activity and militant training camps, and also furnished operational support with weapons, fake passports and safe houses that “enabled” the group to execute the plot.
“The September 11th Attacks and the resulting injuries and deaths were caused by a tortious act or acts of Saudi Arabia, by providing material support and resources to and facilitating the al-Qaida leaders, planners and hijackers responsible,” it continues. “Such act or acts constitute more than mere negligence, and were intentional, knowing, reckless, willful and/or grossly negligent.”
Former President Barack Obama vetoed JASTA after it passed through Congress in September, but the House and Senate successfully voted to override.
One of critics’ primary concerns for the law was that it could open the United States — particularly, taxpayers and military service members — to the same type of lawsuits if foreign nations adopt a similar law in response.
The day after Obama’s veto was overridden, some GOP lawmakers who pushed the bill into law began to express concern about the potential U.S. legal backlash, referring to it as an “unintended consequence” of the law — even though Obama’s administration had repeatedly raised alarm about that possibility.
“I’d like to think that there’s a way we could fix it so that our service members do not have legal problems overseas,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said.
“Nobody really had focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., added.
Reported by UPI