Saudi court acquits 13 in deadly crane crash

Cairo: A Saudi criminal court has acquitted 13 defendants, including the Bin Laden Group, in a case related to a deadly crane crash in the Grand Mosque more than five years ago, according to a local newspaper.

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In September 2015, the crane crashed, killing 110 people and injuring more than 200 others. The tragedy occurred days before the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.

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Explaining its new ruling issued Wednesday, the court in the holy city of Mecca said that the meteorology authorities did not warn in the weather alert on the day of the incident or the day before of possible hurricanes.

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Impossible to avoid

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“The court did not find in the suit documents what proves that the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection had warned against this catastrophe,” Okaz newspaper quoted the court as saying.

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The incident was a “calamity that was hard, if not impossible to avoid,” it added. The court said it would send its new verdict to the appeals court.

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In 2017, the Criminal Court in Mecca exonerated the 13 defendants of negligence, attributing the disaster to fierce winds and thunderstorms.

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The country’s chief prosecutor appealed against the ruling at the time.

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