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Report: Saudi Binladin Group fined for crane collapse in 2015


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A criminal court has fined the Saudi BinLadin Group $5.3 million and sentenced seven people to prison for the fatal collapse of a crane ahead of the 2015 pilgrimage, a leading Saudi daily reported. .

More than 100 people were killed in the incident. Wracked by high winds, the 1,350-tonne crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque that houses Islam’s holiest site, the cubic Kaaba, crashing concrete slabs onto the worshipers below. Less than two weeks after the crane collapsed on Sept. 11, more than 2,400 people were killed in a stampede and crush of pilgrims, according to an Associated Press count.

The daily Okaz reported on Tuesday that the company has been fined 20 million Saudi riyals, or about $5.3 million, for negligence and violating safety regulations. Three defendants were sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 30,000 riyals ($8,000) and another four were sentenced to three months and a fine of 15,000 riyals (approximately $4,000). Okaz did not provide their names or nationalities.

The court ruled that the company is not required to pay blood money to the victims’ families, a traditional form of restitution in the Conservative Kingdom.

The Saudi Binladin Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Binladin family has been close to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family for decades, undertaking major construction projects. Osama bin Laden, the late al-Qaeda leader, was a renegade son who was disowned by the family in the 1990s.

The verdict comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to host the first hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina after lifting pandemic restrictions. Millions of Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage at the end of June, which is one of the largest gatherings of people on Earth in normal years.

The twin disasters in 2015 brought shame to the Saudi royal family, whose legitimacy stems in part from their role as custodians of Islam’s holiest sites.

King Salman at the time partially blamed the construction giant for the crane’s collapse, saying the boom should not have been left up when not in use.

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