9/11 survivors urge May to publish UK terror funding report | UK news

A group of 9/11 attack survivors and bereaved relatives have urged Theresa May to publish a report into the funding of extremism in Britain, with ministers still facing question about whether the report highlights Saudi Arabia.

Last week the home secretary, Amber Rudd, said the report had been concluded but would not be published, citing reasons of national security.

The report was initially commissioned by David Cameron and approved by May as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats to secure the party’s support before a crucial vote on airstrikes in Syria in December 2015.

Its whereabouts became a controversial issue in the final days of the general election campaign after the terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge, with all major opposition parties calling for its release.

After Rudd published a 430-word summary of the report, she said the full report would not be made public. The summary did not name the countries of origin for such funding or mention Saudi Arabia or any other nations, despite requests from the Lib Dems at the time of the commission for the report to examine the Gulf state’s influence.

Fifteen 9/11 survivors have written to the prime minister to urge her to publish the report and subject its findings to “the cleansing light of public consciousness”.

The letter, published in the Independent, goes on: “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.

“We respectfully urge you to release the report now, finished or unfinished. We ask you to consider all the victims of state-sponsored, Saudi-financed terrorism, their families and their survivors in the UK and all over the world.”

Signatories to the letter include Ellen Saracini, the widow of the United Airlines Flight 175 pilot Victor Saracini, whose plane was flown into the World Trade Center’s South Tower by hijackers.

Several other signatories also lost relatives, including Kathy Owens, whose husband Peter died on the 104th floor, and Brett and Gail Eagleson, whose father and husband John also died in the twin towers attack.

Another signatory is Sharon Premoli, a survivor who was on the 80th floor of the North Tower when the planes struck. Premoli is among a group of survivors who are pursuing a federal court case which holds Saudi Arabia responsible for helping some of the attackers.

Rudd said the full report was being withheld “because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons”. Opposition MPs who were members of the privy council are able to view the full report at the Home Office if they do not divulge the contents publicly.

The letter from 9/11 survivors and relatives is also being sent to the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott.

Tim Farron, the outgoing leader of the Liberal Democrats who pushed Cameron to commission the report, said the letter was “a timely reminder of the consequences of looking the other way.”

“Theresa May should be ashamed of the way she has dragged her heels on this issue, first as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister,” he went on. “No amount of trade with dodgy regimes like Saudi Arabia is worth putting the safety of the British public at risk, and if May is serious about our security, she would publish the report, in full, immediately.”

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