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Labour joins 9/11 survivors in demanding Theresa May release suppressed Saudi Arabia terrorism report

Saudi Arabia has always denied involvement in the 2001 attacks

Andrew Buncombe
New York
,Ashley Cowburn
Wednesday 19 July 2017 15:09 BST
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In addition to the more than 2,600 US victims, 372 foreign nationals from 61 countries lost their lives in the attack
In addition to the more than 2,600 US victims, 372 foreign nationals from 61 countries lost their lives in the attack (Getty)

Britain’s Labour Party has thrown its weight behind demands from US 9/11 survivors for Prime Minister Theresa May to release a suppressed report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s financing of Islamic extremism within the UK.

The report was commissioned by David Cameron as part of a political deal to obtain political support for a parliamentary vote on UK airstrikes on Syria.

After Ms May’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said last week the report would not be released “for national security reasons”, a group of survivors and relatives of those who died in the attacks on New York and Washington, wrote to Ms May urging her to change her mind and release the report.

Ms May met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia last year in Bahrain (Getty)

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” says the letter, signed by 15 people.

“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness.”

Sharon Premoli, one of the authors of the letter, was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first Al-Qaeda plane struck, also sent the letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

Now, Ms Abbott and the Labour Party have backed the demand from the victims of the deadliest terror attack in US history. “The public has a right to know how extremism in the UK is funded,” she said in a statement.

Independent candidate claims Amber Rudd shut down his speech about arms sales to Saudi Arabia

“Last week, the Government published a summary rather than a full report on the subject. This decision raises serious concerns that the report is being suppressed to protect commercial relations with possible sources of funding, including Saudi Arabia.

“Labour has consistently called for Theresa May to publish the report in full and echoes the demand of these 9/11 survivors.”

Saudi Arabia has always denied any involvement in the attacks on New York and Washington, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.

Ms Premoli has claimed that rather than confronting Saudi Arabia, the US and Britain have supported the kingdom's unelected monarchy and even encouraged its dispersal of extremism when it has suited Western economic or strategic aims. She said, the US and UK were both continuing to sell arms to Riyadh, even though they were being used in its operations against Yemeni rebels - something that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths.

This week, Reuters reported that at least 20 Yemeni civilians were killed and many others were wounded when a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a village in the south

The UN said the victims of Tuesday’s bombing, which hit al-Atera village in Taiz province where fighting between Yemen’s two warring sides has intensified, were internally displaced people.

The victims’ request that Ms May make public the report, even if it is not complete, has also received the backing of Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas.

In a statement to The Independent, she said: “I fully support these 9/11 survivors in their appeal to Theresa May to release this report. The Government’s refusal to publish it, and their recent vague statement on the issue, are completely unacceptable.

“The Government accepts that foreign funding is a significant source of income for some extremist groups here in Britain - but they won’t say in public where that money is coming from. This group of 9/11 survivors are right to demand answers…and I hope Theresa May takes heed of their calls.”

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