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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

editorial

EDITORIAL: Citizens wants to sue Saudis

The United States Senate passed a bill May 17 allowing families of victims involved in the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabian officials for damages.

Support for this bill stems from the fact 15 out of 19 of the attackers responsible for 9/11 were Saudi citizens.

The U.S. has a 1976 law preventing other countries from being sued in American courts.

This bill would allow lawsuits against other countries to seek damages for attacks that occur on U.S. soil but, as it only covers attacks on U.S. soil, would protect the U.S. from being sued by other countries.

This bill has tremendous bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but Obama is saying he will veto.

The Editorial Board thinks the level of 
bipartisanship shown by supporting this bill will lead to it being passed, regardless of a presidential veto.

However, we also believe the bill will be largely ineffective.

If the bill is passed, it will allow victims of 9/11 and family members of victims to use the U.S. courts to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks ad charities responsible for damages.

American citizens would be able to sue, but it doesn’t mean the Saudis will pay.

In fact, Saudi officials are livid.

They are warning the U.S. if this bill passes, they will sell up to $750 billion in U.S. securities and assets, which will sting the U.S. economy.

However, New York Times reports that experts believe selling those securities would leave Saudi Arabia in a much more dire economic situation than the U.S.

The Editorial Board is perplexed Obama has said he is prepared to veto the bill when it reaches his desk, especially since the Democrats strongly support the bill.

At a news conference about the bill, Reuters reported Schumer said, “Today the Senate has spoken loudly and unanimously that the families of victims of terrorist attacks should be able to hold the perpetrators, even if it’s a country, a nation, accountable.”

Though the 9/11 commission found no conclusive evidence any members of the Saudi government were involved in the 9/11 attacks, there is still a feeling of Saudi culpability.

According to the Independent, John Lehman, who was on the 9/11 
commission from 2003 to 2004, said, “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi 
government.”

It is understandable to look for justice against the guilty party when a tragedy occurs.

However, unless new information is released, it has not been proven by the 9/11 commission the Saudi Arabian government was involved in the attacks.

What is more, U.S. congress has no sovereignty over Saudi Arabia, meaning that any laws they pass in have no inherent power over Saudi Arabia.

We think the bill will most likely pass but because the U.S. has laws that have no jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia, there is no guarantee they will pay any 
damages.

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