August 15, 2008

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled Saudi Arabia could not be held liable for the September 11 attacks against the United States despite charitable donations that ended up in the hands of Al-Qaeda.

Upholding a 2006 decision by a lower court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled inadmissible a lawsuit in which families of victims of the 9/11 attacks charged that Saudi Arabia, four Saudi princes, a Saudi charity and bank had given material support to Al-Qaeda.

The plaintiffs in the case cited Saudi donations to Muslim charity groups that were later transferred to the Al-Qaeda terror network, arguing the Saudis were responsible for financing the 9/11 attacks.

The court in its ruling said the “Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976” granted the Saudi defendants immunity from prosecution on US soil.

It also ruled that a charity named in the suit, the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia and Herzegovina, was also immune under the same law as it was “an agency or instrumentality of the Kingdom.”

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