Saudi Arabia still hasn’t paid promised compensation funds to Indonesian victims of 2015 Mecca crane accident

Muslim pilgrims walk past the crane that had collapsed the day before at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on September 12, 2015. Photo: AFP
Muslim pilgrims walk past the crane that had collapsed the day before at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on September 12, 2015. Photo: AFP

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Tuesday in Jakarta to talk about a number of issues but almost all of the coverage focused on their discussion regarding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Indonesia’s call for a transparent and thorough investigation.

One of the issues overshadowed by the grisly murder scandal was Retno’s request to Adel that Saudi Arabia immediately follow through on its promise to provide compensation funds to all of the Indonesian victims of the crane accident that took place in Mecca on September 11, 2015.

The accident, which happened when a construction crane toppled over into a crowd inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killed 111 people and injured 394. Eleven of those killed and 42 of those injured were Indonesians.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered that a million Saudi riyal (US$266,000) be distributed as compensation to the families of those who died in the crane collapse. He further ordered a million Riyals to be paid to those victims of the collapse who suffer permanent disability and half a million riyal to be paid to as compensation to victims without lasting injuries.

According to the Indonesian government, the Saudis have never made any of those promised payouts to any of the Indonesian victims.

“To Minister of Foreign Affairs Jubeir, I also ask for your attention regarding the handling of issues of protections for Indonesian citizens that have not been completed such as the handling of compensation for victims of the crane collapse in 2015 and the Saudi bin Laden Group company (the crane contractor company),” Retno said in a press statement with Adel after the meeting as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

The Saudi government’s position is that the payments haven’t been made yet because they still have not received complete data on all of the victims.

However, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that all such data had already been collected and handed over to the Saudi government long ago.

In August 2017, the Indonesian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Agus Maftuh Abegebriel, said he had received word from the Saudi government that they would be making the payments soon, but obviously that was not true either.

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