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Preliminary Ruling Acquits 13 Accused in Makkah Crane Crash Case | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Toppled crane in Makkah Grand Mosque. AFP, Getty Images

Makkah- A penal court in Makkah acquitted on Sunday 13 employees in Binladin Group, charged with negligence in the September 11, 2015 crane crash incident, which had resulted in deaths of at least 109 people and the injury of some 400 others.

“The court said that they are not criminally responsible for the incident,” adding that the Saudi attorney general had filed an appeal against the decision which was approved.

The crane toppled over near the Grand Mosque in Makkah amid stormy weather, just days before Hajj.

The Binladin Group’s defense team claimed the Saudi Arabia-based construction firm could not have predicted the severe thunderstorm and violent winds that caused the crane to fall.

The construction firm had been working for years on a multi-billion-dollar 400,000 square-meter enlargement of the Grand Mosque to accommodate increasing numbers of pilgrims to the site.

The collapsed crane was one of several erected by the Binladin Group as part of the project.