9/11 Families Win Right to Sue Saudi Arabia

Appeals court cites 'extraordinary' circumstances
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2013 2:05 PM CST
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia is escorted by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Ground Zero in this Oct. 11, 2001, file photo.   (AP Photo/Pool, Stan Honda, File)
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(Newser) – Saudi Arabia can be sued for its alleged support of al-Qaeda before the 9-11 attacks, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, throwing out its own previous ruling that the kingdom was protected by sovereign immunity. The court said it would be in "the interests of justice" to allow the suit to go forward, Reuters reports, pointing out that a similar lawsuit against Afghanistan had been allowed to go forward. "We conclude that the circumstances here are 'extraordinary' and warrant relief," the judges wrote.

The lawsuits were first set in motion back in 2002, on behalf of the families of September 11 victims and the insurance companies who had to pay their claims. They're seeking billions of dollars in damages. Lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the Saudis have cited the 9-11 Commission's report, the AP observes, with the plaintiffs saying it supports their claim that Saudi Arabia was al-Qaeda's main source of funds, and the kingdom's lawyers saying the report found no evidence the government directly funded the terror network. (Read more al-Qaeda stories.)

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