Supreme Court quashes 9/11 lawsuit against Saudis
(RAW STORY) The Supreme Court has rejected a class-action lawsuit against Saudi Arabia brought by 9/11 survivors and relatives of those killed in the attacks.
The court’s decision Monday not to allow an appeal of the case to go forward effectively ends an effort by some 6,000 9/11 relatives and survivors to sue the government of Saudi Arabia and several members of the Saudi royal family over the country’s alleged behind-the-scenes role in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Citing the 9/11 Commission report and numerous other documents, the plaintiffs had argued that Saudi royals were among the largest contributors to charities that funneled money to Al Qaeda, AP reported Monday.
In its decision, the Supreme Court let stand a federal appeals court’s ruling that “sovereign immunity” — the notion that a country can’t be sued in another country’s courts — means that the lawsuit cannot go forward.
That was more or less the position of the Obama administration as well, which sided with the defendants and urged the courts to dismiss the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the 9/11 families argued in a brief submitted to the court this month that the White House’s desire to end the lawsuit was an “apparent effort to appease a sometime ally” that is important to the U.S.’s energy security.
Last week, the New York Times ran a story outlining the evidence the 9/11 families had put forward, evidence the paper said showed “extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family.”
Among the documents were a statement from an Al Qaeda operative in Bosnia who said the Saudi High Commission had funded the terrorist group in the 1990s, and evidence from the U.S. Treasury Department that a Saudi charity, the International Islamic Relief Organization, had been financially supporting Al Qaeda as recently as 2006.
As is typical when the Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal, the court did not give reasons for its decision, Reuters reports.