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Saudi Arabia drops case on deadly Mecca crane crash

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Saudi emergency teams stand next to a construction crane after it crashed into Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 11, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

A Saudi court has decided to drop a case it opened a few months ago to prosecute those responsible for the 2015 deadly crane crash in the holy city of Mecca.

The Mecca Criminal Court said on Thursday that it had no jurisdiction to rule on the case.

According to reports, 14 defendants had gone on trial over accusations of negligence, ignoring safety guidelines and damaging public property.

Among the defendants were six Saudis, two Pakistanis, a Canadian, a Jordanian, a Palestinian, an Egyptian, an Emirati and a Filipino.

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On September 11, 2015 a huge construction crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 pilgrims and injuring over 200 others in the lead-up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The figures released by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization showed that 11 Iranian pilgrims were among the victims while another 32 Iranians were wounded in the crane crash.

People gather around the bodies of the pilgrims who were killed in a human crush in Mina, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, September 24, 2015. (Photo by AP)

The construction giant Saudi Binladin Group was penalized over the incident.

About two weeks after the crane crash, a fatal human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca. Unofficial sources put the death toll at almost 7,000 people. Iran said about 465 of its nationals lost their lives in the incident.

Days into the crush, Riyadh gave a death toll of 770, and has so far obstinately refrained from updating that figure despite the fact that figures produced by independent sources strongly contradict Saudi Arabia's estimate.

Observers say the kingdom fears that releasing the real figure will be a clear sign of its catastrophic mismanagement of Hajj rituals.

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