9/11 widow first to sue Saudi Arabia under new bill
WASHINGTON (UPI) — A woman whose husband was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon sued the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under new legislation passed by U.S. Congress.
Stephanie Ross DeSimone, filed a complaint at a court in Washington on Friday, seeking reparations for the death of her husband Navy Commander Patrick Dunn from Saudi Arabia on behalf of her and her daughter, according to Press TV.
Two days prior to DeSimone’s complaint, Congress voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which permits the families of 9/11 victims to take civil actions against foreign governments shown to be sponsors of terrorism.
Obama’s veto was superseded by a vote of 97-1 in the Senate and a House vote of 348-77.
DeSimone’s case alleges the Saudi regime had provided material support to al Qaida and its former leader, Osama bin Laden, who have been considered masterminds behind the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Saudi nationals accounted for 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the aircraft attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. A third aircraft, allegedly headed for the White House, crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
DeSimone charged Saudi Arabia caused wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She was pregnant at the time of the attack and therefore also represented her daughter as she sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Saudi Arabia has previously denied culpability for the attack and an official at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the JASTA bill is of “great concern” and said the U.S. must correct it in order to avoid “serious unintended consequences,” according to Bloomberg.
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