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November 21, 2019
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US House passes ’Sue the Saudis’ 9/11 bill

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives, Friday, passed a bill allows Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over 9/11, days before the attack’s 15th anniversary. The bill has passed without any opposition or objection, but the White House threatens a veto.

House Resolution 3815, also known as the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” or JASTA. This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing U.S. courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of a tort, including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official.

It amends the federal criminal code to permit civil claims against a foreign state or official for injuries, death, or damages from an act of international terrorism. Additionally, the bill authorizes federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over and impose liability on a person who commits, or aids, abets, or conspires to commit, an act of international terrorism against a U.S. national.

The law has been invoked to shield Saudi Arabia from lawsuits over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The 19 men who hijacked the airplane and used it to target the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 15 out of them were from Saudi Kingdom.

The senior senator, John Cornyn (Texas) and Charles Schumer (New York), proposed the Senate version of JASTA in May without having any vote against it. The House approved the bill on Friday with unanimity, , giving the Republican-dominated legislature the ability to override a veto from President Barack Obama.

Proponents of the bill were persuading for a vote on the bill before the 15th anniversary of 9/11, coming up on Sunday.

Peter King, the US representative, said he received the green light from Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, now depending on the support of Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte.

“Ryan said so long as Goodlatte approves it, he would approve it. And I spoke to Goodlatte, and [Goodlatte] said he approves it and supports it,” told Peter King.

Saudi Arabia has tried to prevent the bill from passing by using the services of its many lobbyists in Washington.

And among those groups is Podesta Group, co-founded by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and run by his brother Tony Podesta.