New York, March 29 (DDNews): 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.
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.
The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, in which hijacked airplanes crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3,000 people died. Daniels’ decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers.
Saudi Arabia had long had broad immunity from Sept. 11 lawsuits in the United States. 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. Saudi Arabia had argued that the plaintiffs could not show that any Saudi official, employee or agent planned or carried out the attacks.
(The featured image at the top shows the 9/11 airborne attack on the twin towers of New York)