By Adnan Shabrawi
Okaz / Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH – The Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the Mecca Criminal Court ruling to acquit all of the defendants in the Great Mosque crane crash. The verdict is final and brings down a case that has been in the spotlight for several years since the 2015 crane disaster, Okaz / Saudi Gazette learned from well-informed sources.
In December 2020, the Mecca Criminal Court ruled for the third time and acquitted all 13 defendants in the case, including the Saudi Bin Laden Group. The court then made it clear that nothing new was found other than what it had previously decided and that it will send the copy of the judgment to the appeals court to decide what it thinks is right.
In an earlier judgment dated October 1, 2017, the criminal court acquitted all 13 defendants accused of negligence. The court stated at the time that it was not criminally responsible for the incident in which 108 people lost their lives and another 238 were injured when a crane involved in the Haram expansion project fell on September 11, 2015. The Mecca court had also ruled that the disaster was caused by heavy rains and thunderstorms rather than human error or fault. “The crane was in an upright, correct and safe position. The accused, who took all the necessary safety precautions, made no mistake, ”the court stated in its decision. The Attorney General appealed against the judgment and appealed against it.
However, the Court of Appeal upheld the previous judgment of the Criminal Court in its December 2017 ruling. The appeals court alleged that although the crane was in a safe position, it overturned due to a severe thunderstorm and strong winds. The court also ordered the criminal court to re-examine the case. Accordingly, the court issued its third judgment on December 7, 2020 after re-examining all aspects of the crane crash.
It is noteworthy that the appellate court made six important observations in its earlier judgment. The most prominent of these observations was that the crane collapse was a reality, resulting in deaths and injuries, and this cannot be denied by the main defendants and other suspects. It also found that the company in charge of the project and the rest of the defendants are responsible for the measures taken to ensure the safety of the giant crane and the safety of the worshipers of the place of worship from its danger. The Criminal Court later responded to the appeals court’s remarks when it re-examined the case.
The Higher Regional Court had also emphasized the need to clarify, define and know exactly the tasks of the security department of the Haram project, since the company implementing the project has an integrated department for monitoring weather fluctuations, i.e. is fully responsible for the detection and forecast of weather conditions and does not have to wait for meteorological reports.
The court denied the attorney general’s motion to make the bin Laden group pay