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Wed 14 Dec 2016 11:41 AM

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Makkah crane crash defendants 'do not have to attend hearings'

Court grants defendants right to absenteeism despite earlier instructions from judge

Makkah crane crash defendants 'do not have to attend hearings'
(AFP/Getty Images)

A court in Jeddah has reportedly granted defendants in the Makkah crane crash trial the right to absenteeism – despite a judge one week ago insisting they must all attend future sessions.

Fourteen employees of Saudi Binladin Group are on trial charged with causing the crane collapse in Makkah that killed 111 people, injured 210 and permanently disabled eight others on September 11 2015.

The defendants include six Saudis, two Pakistanis and one from each of Jordan, the Philippines, Canada, Palestine, Egypt and the UAE.

The charges are mainly of negligence, manslaughter and causing injuries and disabilities.

It was said last week that the judge in the case had instructed all 14 to attend future court sessions.

However, Saudi Gazette reported on Wednesday that the Summary Court had allowed the defendants to absent themselves from attending sessions starting on Thursday.

The move is known as granting ‘absenteeism’.

Judge Abdulaziz Al Tuwairqi reportedly said lawyers and other representatives with power of attorney could attend the court sessions on behalf of the defendants.

However, the travel ban on defendants remains in place until the end of the trial, he added.

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