Saudis Cleared in 9/11 Cases

Saudis Cleared in 9/11 Cases (Arab News)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, three Saudi princes, several Saudi businessmen and Saudi financial institutions were dismissed as defendants on Tuesday in lawsuits accusing them of supporting Al-Qaeda before the Sept. 11 attacks. Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Casey cited the report by the Sept. 11 Commission, which found no evidence that Saudi leaders provided support to the hijackers. “The US State Department has not designated the Kingdom a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Judge Casey.

He specifically dismissed as defendants Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation; Saudi Ambassador to Britain Prince Turki Al-Faisal; Prince Mohammed Al-Faisal, Sheikh Saleh Kamel and Dallah Al-Baraka, among others.

A rather baffling report. Why would a federal judge dismiss a suit out of hand based on the 9/11 Report, let alone the fact that the Saudis aren’t on the terror list? Hell, Afghanistan wasn’t on the list the morning of 9/11, either.

A better explanation comes from BBC:

New York District Court Judge Richard Casey ruled that the Saudi government, its defence minister and ambassador in London have immunity from litigation.

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Ruling in a number of such cases, Judge Casey said the Saudi government and its officials have immunity to claims that they provided financial and logistical support to Osama bin Laden’s network. The judge also dismissed claims against the Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, the Saudi American Bank and the Arab Bank Plc. Although the case against other Arabic banks, charities and companies, including the Saudi Bin Laden Group go forward, the ruling is a blow for the plaintiffs. Justin Green, a lawyer representing more than 500 victims of the 11 September attacks, said the ruling would probably lead to the dismissal of other similar cases, but that an appeal was being considered.

The district court’s ruling will come as little surprise to legal analysts here. Many of the cases are regarded as protective actions by companies and individuals mindful that they may have to demonstrate in any future litigation that they have done everything possible to seek justice for the victims of the terror attacks.

So, this was a technical matter of jurisdiction rather than a finding of fact.

via Crossroads Arabia

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.