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Saudi lawyer calls on kingdom to enact its own JASTA

Saudi lawyer calls on kingdom to enact its own JASTA

The controversial US bill allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia was made law last week

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A top Saudi lawyer has called for the kingdom to enact its own bill giving citizens the right to sue foreign countries and organisations following the passing of a controversial 9/11 act in the US last week.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) passed by the US Congress will allow families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

Read: US Congress rejects Obama veto, Saudi 9/11 bill becomes law

Dr Khaled Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Nuwaisser told Saudi Gazette that the passing of the bill, despite a veto by US President Barack Obama, set a dangerous precedent by diminishing the concept of sovereign immunity.

Read: Obama vetoes 9/11 Saudi bill, sets up showdown with Congress

“The US has opened the door for all countries to pass similar laws and this is what President Obama and senior American officials had warned the Congress before passing the law,” he was quoted as saying.

“It’s now imperative to pass a similar law or Saudi JASTA that would allow every Saudi to take legal action against any government that sponsors terrorism against the kingdom, including Iran and Hezbollah, by filing lawsuits at Saudi courts.”

The lawyer called on the kingdom’s consultative Shoura Council to initiate the passing of an anti-terror sponsor law during its coming session as a top priority.

It could then be presented to higher authorities for endorsement.

He said the country was one of the biggest victims of terrorism and the new law would reflect the country’s will for security and stability.

Read: Saudi riyal falls, bond may be delayed after US 9/11 vote

However, he said it should not be considered a confrontation with the US.

“At the same time, the Saudi JASTA should not exclude any country including the US from attending trial at Saudi courts,” he said.

Al-Nuwaisser also called for similar laws in other GCC countries to protect their interests.

“We have to make speedy steps to enact the new law before other countries pass laws similar to JASTA and before facing a spate of lawsuits from more than one place,” he said, according to Saudi Gazette.

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