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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Saudi lawyer sues over 11 September
Lawyer holds copy of
Many Saudis see the US lawsuit as politically motivated

A lawyer in Saudi Arabia is planning to launch legal action against the US Government in connection with the 11 September attacks, claiming unspecified damages.

Detained prisoner is held by US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Al-Shamri says that many of the detainees are innocent students
It comes less than a week after US lawyers started proceedings for massive damages from members of the Saudi royal family and charities in the kingdom, accusing them of helping to finance al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden - the man accused of organising last year's suicide hijackings.

The Saudi lawyer, Qatib al-Shamri, says he is acting on behalf of people who were wrongly tied to al-Qaeda by the US authorities.

Mr al-Shamri is also a member of a legal defence committee set up to defend people being detained by the US military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He is now preparing 15 separate lawsuits on behalf of Saudis who were visiting or living in America at or around 11 September.

'Reasonable' compensation

Among his clients are several students who say they were wrongly detained without charge by the US authorities and prevented from continuing their studies there.

Others are Saudis whose names and pictures were published in US newspapers as potential al-Qaeda suspects.

Mr al-Shamri says he will not file the lawsuits for another two months to allow time to appoint US lawyers and raise more funds.

"Our case will seek reasonable compensation," he said.

"It is the right time to proceed."

Some expect other Saudis with similar claims to join the action.

Outrage

Already it is being seen as a response to last week's much larger lawsuit on behalf of 500 people who lost relatives in the New York and Washington attacks, which al-Shamri described as "bogus and politicised".

It targets three senior Saudi princes, as well as banks and Islamic charities for a total of one trillion dollars.

The US lawsuit has caused outrage here, with newspapers denouncing it as financial and political blackmail.

One said the ultimate goal of those behind it is to convict Saudi Arabia and bring down the Islamic religion.


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See also:

16 Aug 02 | Americas
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03 Aug 02 | Americas
21 Dec 01 | Business
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