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Douglas J. Hagmann
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By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

15 August 2008: Yesterday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a 2006 ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Casey that keeps Saudi Arabia and four of its princes immune from legal action by victims of the September 11 attacks. The defendants are accused of providing material support to al-Qaeda by financing the terror operations through Muslim charities. Also immune from prosecution is a Saudi banker and charity.

In its 67-page decision, the three judge panel found that the defendants were protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Under the Act, foreign governments are immune from prosecution unless it can be proved that they actively supported terrorist groups. Further, the court also stated that exceptions to the immunity rule do not apply because Saudi Arabia has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the US state department.

The ruling grants immunity for Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, president of the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia and Herzegovina; Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs; Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, interior minister; and Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, director of the Department of General Intelligence.

Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed in 1993 to support Bosnian Muslims. According to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the commission was “a fully integrated component” of al-Qaeda’s “logistical and financial support infrastructure.” They allege that for more than a decade, officials of the government of Saudi Arabia financed Muslim charities that were sources of funding for Islamic terrorists. The trail of terrorist financing initially began in Afghanistan then in Bosnia Herzegovina, and, ultimately to the slaughter of Americans on 9/11.

Supporting the allegations of the victims, testimony was provided by senior U.S. Treasury and State Department officials that the Saudi High Commission and other charities had become conduits for terrorist financing.

Related:
9/11 Lawsuit

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FOLLOW THE MONEY

Terrorism Cannot Exist Without Funding

9/11 Lawsuit Takes Hit

  • Judge Dismisses Some Claims, Allows Others
  • Claims against Saudi Binladin Group, National Commercial Bank Still Viable19 January 2005– A “tort” is a legal term meaning a wrongful act resulting in injury or damage on which a civil action can be based. Pursuant to that definition, the 9/11 attacks should be considered “the mother of all torts” and any individual, organization, business or even country that provided any material support for the Islamic terrorists in the weeks, months, years and even decades leading up to 9/11 must be held accountable for the future safety and security of our country.

    To that end, more than 600 relatives of the September 11, 2001 attacks, along with a number of firefighters and rescue workers filed a 15-count, $116 trillion lawsuit against the company run by Osama bin Laden’s family, Saudi Arabian princes and the country of Sudan on August 15, 2002. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the plaintiffs who joined together as the “Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism.” Targeted in the suit were seven international banks; eight Islamic foundations, charities and their subsidiaries; individual terrorist financiers; the Saudi bin Laden Group; three Saudi princes; and the government of Sudan for allegedly bankrolling the terrorist al Qaeda network, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Notably, the Saudi bin Laden Group is the construction company operated in Saudi Arabia by Osama bin Laden’s brothers. According to FBI reports, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian.

    Last Friday, the judge overseeing lawsuits issued a 62-page, single spaced opinion that that resulted in dismissals of claims against Saudi Arabia, Saudi princes, and some banks. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia still faces similar claims in other cases overseen by U.S. District Richard Judge Casey, who also refused to dismiss claims against the Binladin Group, National Commercial Bank and several other defendants. The Saudi Binladin Group is the construction and distribution company run by bin Laden’s family.

    Dismissals were made in the claims against:

  • Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation
  • Saudi American Bank
  • Arab Bank Place
  • Saudi Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-SaudIn addition to Binladin Group, Casey refused to dismiss claims against the National Commercial Bank and several other defendants. It is important to note that dozens of other defendants, including foundations and charities such as the Muslim World League were not involved in the ruling. Still on the list of defendants is Mohammed Albanna, a leader in the Yemeni community of Lackawanna, NY. Albanna, a business owner in greater Buffalo, NY has been an vocal advocate for the Lackawanna, NY men arrested in September 2002 and sentenced in December 2003 under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Dubbed “the Lackawanna Six” by the media, Albanna had continuously proclaimed their innocence.
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