WASHINGTON (CN) – U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over a class of approximately 4,000 Kenyans suing al-Qaida for the 1998 terrorist bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, a federal judge ruled.
The Kenyans filed their original class action in 1999 against Osama bin Ladin, al-Qaida, Sudan and Afghanistan, but the two countries were subsequently dismissed from the case, leaving the now deceased bin Ladin and al-Qaida as the remaining defendants.
“Thus, this lawsuit is now between plaintiffs who are citizens of Kenya and Al Qaida,” U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola wrote. “That means that this is now a suit between aliens and a (sic) organization that is made up of aliens.”
Facciola stayed the case on Tuesday, citing unclear jurisdiction, deciding that the court could not go any further without guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts.
The Kenyans claimed that bin Ladin and al-Qaida carried out the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi with logistical support from the two countries. They attempted to have sovereign immunity waived under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Hundreds of people were killed in 1998 when simultaneous truck bombs exploded at the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.