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Families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia

[JURIST] More than 850 family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Monday against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [government website]. The suit alleges that Saudi Arabia provided support to al Qaeda [BBC profile] in multiple ways. First, it alleges that Saudi Arabian charities ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, working hand in hand with Osama bin Laden. The suit also claims that the government of Saudi Arabia directly funded al Qaeda by providing passports and transportation across the globe. Finally, the suit contends that certain Saudi officials worked with the hijackers in the US for the 18 months leading up to the attacks. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, with the primary motive on trying to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the attacks.

This legal challenge only became available after congress passed the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act [materials], which provided the legal recourse to sue foreign governments over the 9/11 attacks. After the bill passed in both chambers of congress it was vetoed [JURIST report] by President Barack Obama in September, who argued that the bill would open US diplomats and servicemen to suit abroad. Congress overrode the presidential veto [JURIST report] in a bipartisan effort. The law was quickly condemned by Saudi Arabia [JURIST report].

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