Report: Saudi Arabia puts 14 on trial over deadly crane crash

Trial has begun for 14 people in connection to a crane collapse in Saudi Arabia last year that killed 110 people and injured more than 200 at a holy site, local newspapers reported on Thursday.

The defendants face charges of negligence, damaging public and private properties, and violating safety rules, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported. The trial, which is taking place in the western city of Jeddah, began on Wednesday but was only made public on Thursday.

The case is related to the fall of a 1,350-ton crane amid fierce winds in the Grand Mosque that houses Islam's holiest site in the city of Mecca in September 2015.

The defendants are six Saudis, two Pakistanis and one person each from Jordan, the Philippines, Canada, Palestine, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, the English-language Saudi Gazette newspaper reported, adding that an unnamed Saudi billionaire was also among the accused.

There was no official comment.

After the 2015 accident, King Salman ordered that the Binladen Group, which managed construction at the site, not receive further government contracts until an inquiry by a state body was completed.

The Saudi-based company, founded by the father of Osama bin Laden, is one of the largest construction conglomerates in the world.

Over the years, pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have lost their lives due to stampedes and fires. In recent years, the oil-rich kingdom has invested in making the pilgrimage rituals easier and safer.

However, later in September 2015, 769 Muslim pilgrims died in a stampede during a Hajj pilgrimage ritual near Mecca, according to Saudi official figures. A dpa tally, however, indicated that more than 1,800 pilgrims died in the incident, making it the worst Hajj tragedy on record.

Last update: Thu, 11/08/2016 - 17:27
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