US top court declines to hear Sept. 11 case against banks

Updated 01 July 2014

US top court declines to hear Sept. 11 case against banks

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Monday left intact a lower court ruling that barred victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York from pursuing claims against banks they accused of indirectly helping militants.
The high court rejected an appeal filed by the victims following an April 2013 ruling by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals that complaints against banks and entities accused of indirectly aiding the perpetrators could be dismissed. Those victims included family members of nearly 3,000 people who died in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
The bank defendants dismissed by the ruling include Al Rajhi Bank, Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, Dallah Al Baraka Group LLC and Saudi American Bank, now known as Samba Financial Group. Separately, the appeals court also dismissed several individuals and companies from the case.

The appeals court said allegations against the banks over material support for terrorism could go ahead if there was a more direct relationship between the bank and a particular militant action.
The case before the high court is just one element of the multi-district litigation filed by victims against a wide range of defendants. The attacks were orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden under the auspices of the Al-Qaeda militant group. The US military killed Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
The administration of President Barack Obama urged the court not to take the case.
The case is In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, US Supreme Court, 13-318.
In a related case, the court declined to hear an appeal filed by Saudi Arabia’s government objecting to a lower court decision to revise the Sept. 11 victims’ lawsuit against it for alleged links with the attacks. The case is Saudi Arabia v. Federal Insurance Company, et al, US Supreme Court, No. 13-1146.


China accuses US of harassing Chinese students, researchers

Updated 03 August 2020

China accuses US of harassing Chinese students, researchers

BEIJING: China on Monday accused the United States of “monitoring, harassing and willfully detaining” Chinese students and researchers in the US
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s comments follow the denial of a bail request in California for a university researcher accused of lying about her ties to China’s military and governing Communist Party to gain access to the United States.
Wang also criticized the Trump administration for imposing sanctions on a major paramilitary organization in the country’s western Xinjiang region and on two officials for alleged human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities.
Wang said China had no intention of helping Juan Tang escape from the United States, but did not otherwise comment directly on the accusations against her.
However, he said China urges the US to “handle the case fairly in accordance with the law and ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests” due to Tang.
“For some time, the US, with ideological prejudice, keeps monitoring, harassing and willfully detaining Chinese students and researchers, and making presumptions of guilt against Chinese researchers,” Wang said.
“The US actions have seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and severely disrupted the normal cultural and personnel exchanges between China and the US, which amounts to outright political persecution,” he said.
In denying bail, US Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes said Tang, 37, would have reason to leave the country if released. Tang has been held without bail since July 23 when she was arrested after she left the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to seek medical care for her asthma.
Tang, who has a doctorate in cellular biology, entered the United States on Dec. 27, 2019, to work at the University of California, Davis, as a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Alexandra Negin, an assistant federal public defender, said in her filing asking the court for her release on bail. The lab closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and Tang had been preparing to return to China, Negin said.
Tang and three other scientists living in the US face charges of lying about their status as members of China’s People’s Liberation Army, or PLA. All were charged with visa fraud, the Justice Department said.
Tang was the last of the four to be arrested after the Justice Department accused the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco of harboring a known fugitive.
Negin said Tang went to the consulate to seek help and remained there after FBI agents questioned her at her Davis apartment on June 20 and executed a search warrant, seizing her passport and visa.
Agents found photographs of Tang in a uniform of the civilian cadre of the PLA and also reviewed articles from China that identified her military affiliation. Negin argued that the evidence against Tang is based on old photographs from when she was a student at a medical school run by the military and documents that were translated on apps.
Wang said the US State and Treasury Department penalties targeting the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps “seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs and violated the basic norms of international relations.”
The sanctions hit the corps, its commander and former political commissar for alleged abuses against Uighur Muslims, including mass arbitrary detentions, forced labor and torture. They freeze any assets the targets may have in US jurisdictions, and perhaps more significantly, bar Americans from doing business with them,
Wang repeated China’s assertion that it has been acting against violence, terrorism and separatism and that “Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnic groups, or religions at all.”
China has used that in an attempt to deflect international condemnation of its internment of more than 1 million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in prison-like camps that it calls re-education and job training centers, along with other abuses.
The corps acts like a parallel government in the vast, resource-rich region, operating its own schools, courts and a large network of businesses.