U.S. judge dismisses September 11 victims’ case against Saudi Arabia

Nate Raymond Reuters

A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks, who accused the country of providing material support to al Qaeda.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity from damage claims by families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.

“The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants,” Daniels wrote.

The victims had sought to supplement their case with new allegations to avoid that result, including based on testimony they secured from Zacarias Moussaoui, a former al Qaeda operative imprisoned for his role in the attacks.

Daniels said even if he allowed the plaintiffs to assert those new claims, doing so would be “futile, however, because the additional allegations do not strip defendants of sovereign immunity.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they would appeal. Sean Carter, one the lawyers, said he believed the ruling was also the consequence of the U.S. government’s decision to keep classified evidence that could be favorable to their cause.

“Obviously, we respectfully disagree with Judge Daniels’ ruling,” he said

A lawyer for Saudi Arabia declined comment.

The ruling came just over 14 years after the September 11, 2001, attacks, in which airliners hijacked by al Qaeda militants brought death and destruction upon the United States.

Most of the 19 attackers were Saudi nationals who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted.

The case against Saudi Arabia has had a complicated history, with trial judges including Daniels twice before ruling that Saudi Arabia was entitled to immunity under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

But in 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revived the lawsuit, in light of a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to proceed against Afghanistan.

The case is In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 03-md-01570. (Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler)

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
  • One World Observatory

    Learn more about the One World Observatory complimentary ticket program.

  • Categories

  • From the Newsletter

  • Upcoming Events

    1. COVID-19 testing sites in the NYC area

      October 13 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm
    2. Application period open for the LeRoy W. Homer, Jr. Foundation Scholarship

      November 1, 2020 @ 8:00 am - January 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
    3. Buy a beer on Mondays and support the Terry Farrell Foundation – Fort Collins, CO

      November 7 @ 11:00 am - December 31 @ 8:00 pm
    4. NYPD Officer Chris Bramwell needs a kidney urgently

      November 10 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm
    5. Warren Fire Department fundraiser for their 9/11 ceremony next year

      November 17, 2020 @ 8:00 am - January 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm