US: Judge orders Saudi royalty to testify about 9/11 attacks
Two members of the royals of Saudi Arabia will have to answer questions about the September 11 attacks, a US federal judge ruled, in what lawyers for the victims have called a turning point in a lengthy lawsuit.
Judge Sarah Netburn ordered in an unsealed written ruling Thursday night that Saudi Arabia make available members of the royal family and other Saudi witnesses, including officials and former officials, to testify.
How and when the witnesses would testify is unknown, but the ruling means that "we can begin to find out what they know," Jim Kreindler, the plaintiffs' attorney, said Friday.
Members of the royal family include Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief who was ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, according to court documents.
Some relatives of the 9/11 victims say Saudi Arabian agents knowingly supported Al Qaeda and its then-leader, Osama bin Laden, before the attackers crashed the planes into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. The nearly 3,000 fatalities were remembered on Friday on the 19th anniversary of the attacks. Families are asking for billions of dollars in compensation.
The Saudi government has long denied involvement in the attacks.