RIYADH // A Saudi appeals court has ordered about a dozen people accused of negligence in a deadly 2015 crane collapse at Islam’s holiest site to stand trial again.
The Mecca criminal court originally ruled that it had no jurisdiction over allegations of "safety breaches", the Okaz and Saudi Gazette newspapers reported. But the appeals court judges overturned that ruling by a vote of five to two.
At least 109 people, including foreign pilgrims, were killed when the crane crashed into a courtyard at the Grand Mosque in Mecca during high winds in September 2015.
The new ruling came after prosecutors appealed.
The accused included at least one Saudi “billionaire” and nationals of Pakistan, the Philippines, Canada and several Arab countries, the newspapers reported. They were charged with “negligence leading to death, damaging public property and ignoring safety guidelines”.
The crane was one of several the Saudi Binladin Group had erected as part of a multi-billion-dollar expansion plan to accommodate increasing numbers of pilgrims.
No details were given of when hearings might resume, and different reports give different figures for the number of accused, which are either 13 or 14.
King Salman suspended the firm from new public contracts for several months after the tragedy.
The Saudi Binladin Group, which developed landmark buildings in the kingdom, was founded more than 80 years ago by the father of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
* Agence France-Presse