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Crane that fell on Mecca’s Grand Mosque ‘was operating without license’

Defendants are facing a number of charges including the violation of safety rules, negligence and causing the death and injuries to many people

Published: Updated:

The giant crane that collapsed on the walls of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in September 2015 killing 110 people and injuring 260 others was operating without license, an engineer has told the Jeddah Summary Court which is looking into the case.

The engineer was one of 14 defendants from the Binladen group who are standing trial.

The group, which is involved in the Haram expansion project, had owned and operated the crane.

The defendant also said that most of the workers at the site had no knowledge of the manual book explaining the operation methods.

“Some of them did not even know that such a book existed,” he said.

The court will convene on Thursday in its new headquarters in Mecca to rule on the objection of the defendants to its authority to look into the case.

The defendants said it is the Civil Defense Council (CDC) which is the legitimate body to look into the case not the court.

The court had so far held four sessions during which it studied three parcels of papers containing more than 2,500 pages on the case.

According to informed court sources, the defendants are facing a number of charges including the violation of safety rules, negligence and causing the death and injuries to many people. A number of lawyers said that under the CDC system, the punishment for negligence is discretionary which might be a maximum imprisonment term of six months, a fine not exceeding SR30,000 or the two punishments together.

This article was first published on the Saudi Gazette on Dec. 29, 2016.