A US judge has rejected Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the 9/11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims.
US District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said the plaintiffs’ allegations “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis” for him to assert jurisdiction under a federal law, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.
Saudi Arabia had long had broad immunity from September 11 lawsuits in the United States, before the US Congress in September 2016 overrode a veto by President Barack Obama to allow such cases to proceed.
Lawyers for Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the attacks, in which hijacked airplanes crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3000 people died.
In two decisions, Judge Daniels also dismissed claims by various plaintiffs against several other defendants, saying he lacked jurisdiction.
Among these defendants were two Saudi banks, National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank, and Saudi Binladin Group, a construction company controlled by the bin Laden family.
They were accused of knowingly providing material support to Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda, in the form of funds and financial services, to carry out the attacks.