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Makkah crane tragedy trial to start soon

Investigators and the prosecution had completed an eight-month investigation into the case which involved questioning a number of suspects

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Suspects including engineers and two government employees will face trial in Saudi Arabia over the deaths of 107 people when a crane toppled over at the Grand Mosque in Makkah last year, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Arabic-language Al-Riyadh newspaper quoted a source as saying that investigators and the prosecution had completed an eight-month investigation into the case which involved questioning a number of suspects.

“The court is in the process of deciding the (date of the) first hearing in coming days after the judge studies the case,” Al-Riyadh said.

It said those charged included engineers and two officials working for two government bodies in Makkah, but did not specify what the charges were or how many people would face trial.

The government quickly suspended construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, the main contractor on the mosque expansion, from seeking new contracts and placed travel bans on its senior executives, penalties that were later lifted.

Saudi Binladin Group, one of the largest contracting companies in the Kingdom, which was founded more than 80 years ago, had been carrying out expansion work at the Grand Mosque.

Last December, Saudi Arabia’s Bureau of Investigations and Public Prosecution (BIP) in Jeddah found five top technical and engineering officials guilty in the crane crash incident at the Grand Mosque on Sept. 11.

The engineers and technicians were involved in the supervision of the expansion project of the Grand Mosque. They included government officials.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on July 13, 2016.