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Lawsuit Revived Claiming Saudi Arabia Liable for Providing Support to al Qaeda 9/11 Attacks
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The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has reversed a lower court ruling and revived a lawsuit by victims of September 11, 2001 attacks. The lawsuit alleges Saudi Arabia provided material support to al Qaeda and should be held liable for its part.

In its ruling, the 2nd Circuit followed the logic of a 2011 decision that permitted plaintiffs to raise similar claims against Afghanistan for providing material support to al Qaeda enabling it to carry out the 9/11 attacks. The three-judge panel held that it would be “especially anomalous” to treat the plaintiffs in the present case differently.

  
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The litigation, brought on behalf of the families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 attacks, was returned to US District Judge George Daniels for further proceedings.

Michel Kellogg, a partner of the law firm representing Saudi Arabia expressed the country will be seeking further review of the decision. He said, “It is extremely unfortunate and burdensome that a sovereign nation and ally of the United States will continue to have to litigate this matter more than 10 years after it was filed.”

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2002, but US District Judge Richard Casey in Manhattan dismissed the claims that alleged Saudi Arabia and a government-affiliated charity had knowingly provided funding and other material support to al Qaeda thus enabling it to carry out the attacks.

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The lower court’s decision was upheld in 2008 by a panel of the 2nd Circuit on different grounds. However, the interpretation of sovereign immunity made by that panel was overruled by another panel in 2011 in the case related to Afghanistan.

Following the 2011 ruling, the plaintiffs in the Saudi Arabia matter asked US District Judge George Daniels to vacate the 2005 ruling. However, Daniels refused to do so and the case came before the 2nd Circuit in appeal.





 

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