Saudi court acquits defendants in deadly Grand Mosque’s crane fall case
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Saudi court acquits defendants in deadly Grand Mosque’s crane fall case

On Thursday, the Criminal Court in Mecca ordered the dismissal of the case against construction conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group, asserting that the trawler crane had been installed in a correct and safe position, and that none of the defendants were found to be negligent, Arabic-language al-Madina newspaper reported. The court further claimed that the defendants had taken all the necessary precautions, holding stormy winds solely responsible for the collapse of the crane. The judge alleged that the findings have been corroborated by meteorological reports, Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company Saudi Aramco, a relevant government committee, the public prosecution as well as technical and engineering reports compiled by specialized international centers. On September 11, 2015, at least 111 people lost their lives and 394 others sustained injuries when a huge crane collapsed into a part of the Grand Mosque in the lead-up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The site was filled with worshippers for Friday prayers at the time. General Suleiman al-Amr, director general of Saudi Arabia's Civil Defense Authority, told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television news network at the time that strong winds and heavy rains had caused the collapse. Saudi Binladin Group is run by the Bin Laden family, which has close ties with Saudi Arabia's ruling family. Known as the second largest construction company in the world after French firm Vinci Construction, the Jeddah-based conglomerate was founded in 1931 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Laden, the father of al-Qaeda’s slain leader Osama bin Laden. In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden was purportedly disowned by the family. According to the website of the group, it has worked on numerous important projects in the kingdom, including al-Faisaliah tower in central Riyadh, King Abdullah Financial District, several universities, and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

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