Saudi Arabia has asked a US judge to dismiss the lawsuits that hold Riyadh responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks and seek damages for the victims.
Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia made the request in papers filed with Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, arguing that the plaintiffs had so far failed to generate sufficient evidence to subject the kingdom to the $100-billion lawsuits.
The plaintiffs’ claims are based on thousands of pages of hearsay and speculation, which are “insufficient to support the findings required for jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia,” the lawyers said.
Those, who had brought the lawsuits against Riyadh, had reached “grandiose conclusions” that far exaggerate the importance of “threadbare allegations and nonexistent evidence,” they added.
Some 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, after four hijacked passenger planes were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
In 25 cases, hundreds of victims’ relatives and injured survivors, along with insurance companies and businesses say, the Saudi government assisted the attacks through a variety of activities in support of the al-Qaeda militant group over a number of years.
James Kreindler, a lawyer representing the wrongful death claimants, said Tuesday’s filing was “expected.”
“We have tons of allegations of what many Saudis and the country’s alter ego charities did. Saudi Arabia cannot hide from the facts,” he added.
Additionally, the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, a New Jersey-based group, said there is plenty of evidence against the Riyadh regime.
“It’s been almost 16 years since 9/11, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to do everything possible to duck, dodge and distract from the overwhelming evidence that their government officials and agents aided and abetted these horrific attacks,” said Terry Strada, the group’s national chair.
In September 2015, US District Judge George Daniels tossed Saudi Arabia out as a defendant.
One year later, however, the US Congress passed legislation, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), that eliminated some defenses and enabled the 9/11 victims to reassert their claims.
Strada stressed that by passing the law, the US Congress made clear that the 9/11 families and survivors “deserve their day in court and all of the Saudi’s high-priced lawyers, lobbyists and foreign agents in the world aren’t going to stop us.”