Saudi lawyer calls for Kingdom’s own version of the US JASTA law
US CIA Director John Brennan (R) discusses his opposition to the JASTA law while being interviewed by The Atlantic National Correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg during the Washington Ideas Forum at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington DC. (AFP/Chip Somodevilla)
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Renowned international lawyer Dr. Khaled Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Nuwaisser has urged Saudi authorities to enact a bill similar to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) passed by the US Congress recently, saying the Saudi JASTA would give citizens the right to sue foreign countries and organizations that support terror against the Kingdom at local courts.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette following the passage of the controversial legislation by the US Congress, overriding President Barack Obama's veto, the Saudi lawyer described JASTA as a dangerous precedent, adding that it would give the US Congress greater powers than the international law that protects sovereignty and immunity of countries. "This bill (JASTA) is unfortunate and a dangerous precedent," Al-Nuwaisser said. 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.
"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," he explained.
Al-Nuwaisser called upon the 150-member Shoura (Consultative) Council to initiate the passing of an anti-terror sponsor law during the coming session and give it top priority. The draft law would then be presented to higher authorities for endorsement.
"Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest victims of terrorism and terrorists," the lawyer said, adding that the proposed law would reflect the will of Saudi people to protect their nation from foreign attack and safeguard its security and stability. He said the Saudi JASTA would not be aimed at escalation of tension with the US as it would not be wise to have a confrontation with that country. "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 called upon the government to face the present difficult challenge with wisdom. "We are facing a new reality and crossroad and we have to face it boldly," he added.
The Saudis have all the right to safeguard their nation, state and its achievements. "The new law comes as a popular demand to protect the nation.
It's not to politicize things but to fight terror and its sponsors."
The Saudi lawyer called upon all other GCC countries to enact similar laws, not only to stand by the Kingdom but also 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 added.
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