Saudi Arabia asked a US judge on Tuesday to dismiss 25 lawsuits claiming that it supported to plan September 11 attacks and should pay damages to victims.
Saudi Arabia said in a filing in US District Court in Manhattan, that plaintiffs cannot show the kingdom or any affiliated charities were behind the attacks and added it deserved sovereign immunity.
The Saudi government has always denied the involvement in the attacks on World Trade Center, which killed 3000 people. Saudi Arabia is being sued for billions of dollars by the families and by people who suffered injuries and witnessed a loss in their businesses.
“It is what we expected,” James Kreindler, a lawyer representing the wrongful death claimants, said in an interview, referring to Tuesday’s filing. “We have tons of allegations of what many Saudis and the country’s alter ego charities did. Saudi Arabia cannot hide from the facts.”
In September 2015, U.S. District Judge George Daniels, who oversees the litigation, had dismissed claims by victims’ families.
However, last year, the US Congress overtook a veto by President Barack Obama and adopted the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which permitted the claims to proceed.
In Tuesday’s filing, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that JASTA eliminated some of its defenses. But it said the plaintiffs still could not show that any Saudi official, employee or agent planned or carried out the attacks.
“Neither proper allegations nor any evidence support plaintiffs’ conclusory assertions that Saudi Arabia caused the 9/11 attacks by knowingly or even recklessly aiding the terrorists who committed them,” the kingdom said.
Saudi Arabia also added that JASTA might violate the US Constitution if Congress passed it to dictate the result in this lawsuit, encroaching on courts’ power to decide cases.
Obama had previously warned that the law could expose US companies, troops and officials to lawsuits in other countries.
It was found that fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, but the US government failed to find the evidence that Arab nation funded al Qaeda.