9/11 terror attack victim’s widow sues Saudi Arabia

People run through the Empty Sky memorial at daybreak over lower Manhattan on the morning of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in New Jersey, US, on September 11, 2016. (REUTERS FILE)

A woman whose husband was killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US has sued Saudi Arabia, holding it partially responsible for them in the first such case filed since congress made it possible after over-riding a presidential veto earlier this week.

“Absent the support provided by the Kingdom, al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan, and execute the September 11th attacks,” Stephanie DeSimmons, the petitioner who was two-months pregnant at the time, said in documents filed in Washington on Friday, according to CNN.

DeSimmons and her daughter who are co-petitioners, have sought an unspecified amount in compensation.

Saudi Arabia’s role in the attacks has long been speculated about, based on two factors mostly. One, 15 of the 19 men who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia. And, two, recently released pages from the 9/11 commission report indicated the attackers were in touch with Saudi officials.

But the Obama administration had opposed the legislation, arguing it would open up the US to similar suits the world over. Obama vetoed an earlier legislation citing the same reason.

But congress over-rode him in a vote earlier this week.

Lawmakers have since developed doubts about it, and are trying to strip it off some of its most damaging provisions.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statment earlier this week that the law passed by congress is of “great concern to the community of nations that object to the erosion of the principle of sovereign immunity, which has governed international relations for hundreds of years.”

“The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States,” it had said.


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