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September 24, 2013

9/11 JASTA Bill: Congress Introduces Legislation to Ensure Justice Against Terrorism

On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS TO ENSURE JUSTICE AGAINST THOSE WHO SUPPORT TERRORISM AND TO DETER FUTURE ATTACKS

JASTA bill commended for its goals and bipartisan introduction

Hailing it as a victory in the fight against terrorism, the 9/11 Families praised the introduction of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). JASTA (H.R. 3143/S.1535) was simultaneously introduced Sept. 19, 2013, in both chambers of Congress by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Peter King (R-NY).

The measure was introduced with broad bipartisan support of original cosponsors.  In the House, Rep. King was joined by original cosponsors Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NY), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Pat Meehan (R-PA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA).  In the Senate, Sen. Schumer was joined by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX),  Christopher Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT),  Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA),  Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“JASTA is essential to the deterrence of international terrorism on American soil and the guarantee of justice to those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism to pass this important bill,” said Representative King.  

"The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act will finally correct an egregious error within our court system that has prevented victims of 9/11 from obtaining recourse against those who helped sponsor the attacks," said Senator Schumer. "This legislation means that foreign states can now be held accountable if they help fund a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and it means that the victims of 9/11 are one step closer to justice."

“I am so grateful for the leadership shown by Representatives King, Nadler and the other Members of Congress and Senator Schumer, Klobuchar and their fellow Senators.  More than three years ago, a federal court ruled in a twisted misinterpretation of anti-terrorism laws that many of those who funded the 9/11 attacks could not be held liable in a U.S. civil court,” said Beverly Burnett of Eden Prairie, Minn., mother of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., one of the heroes of United Flight 93. “All those who we allege provided financial and material support for the attacks that killed our son and 3,000 other innocent people should be held accountable. No matter who they are or where they are, these individuals must be brought to justice if we are to stop the terrorist financial pipeline and make America safer.”

“Never in our history has it been more urgent for us to end the flow of money to terrorists whose dangerous ideology led to the attacks of 9/11.  Al Qaeda is spreading to more regions in the Middle East and continues to be a threat to U.S. national security,” said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  “JASTA is vital to the deterrence of international terrorism on American soil and will restore the right of American terrorism victims who seek justice as Congress always intended.”

"The introduction and codification of JASTA is the hope of all victims of terrorism.  It is a critical bill.  Without JASTA, financiers of terrorism continue unimpeded and unstoppable in their funding of terrorism here and abroad via sophisticated fronts and banks. JASTA will also impact the pervasive money laundering used in financing terrorism. Thank you to all our sponsoring members of Congress,” said Sharon Premoli of Dorset, V.T., who was trapped by the collapse of the World Trade Center and maintains an advocacy website, www.JusticeAgainstTerrorism.org and started a Change.org petition to demonstrate support for the bill (http://bit.ly/JASTA). Premoli also noted that past court rulings held that no one could be held accountable for financing or supporting a terrorist attack in the United States as long as the money or support was given outside the United States.

“For more than a decade I have been seeking my day in court to have those responsible for the murder of my son answer for what they did.  I am hopeful that this bill will make that happen.  No one should be above the law,” said Bill Doyle of The Villages, Fla., father of Joseph M. Doyle who died in the World Trade Center.   “I am pleased that Congress is taking this step to hold accountable to the greatest extent possible those who finance or otherwise support terrorists who attack America.”

Loreen Sellitto, New Vernon, N.J., mother of Matthew Sellitto, 23, who died in the World Trade Center, said “Our elected officials must do everything possible to protect the citizens of this country against future terrorist attacks.  I hope that all Americans will stand behind this non-partisan effort to hold accountable the foreign sponsors of terrorism that target America by attacking its funding and support networks.”


The 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism

This group is comprised of more than 6,000 family members of those killed in the attacks of 9/11 and those injured as well.  They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks.  To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who they allege financed and provided support for those cowardly terrorist attacks.  The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al.,Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The change.org petition can be found at: http://bit.ly/JASTA. The families are represented by complex civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.