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Saudi court sentences rioting Binladin workers to jail and flogging

Saudi court sentences rioting Binladin workers to jail and flogging

Workers from the construction company protested last year after their salaries were delayed

A Saudi Criminal Court in Makkah has found 49 former workers of the Binladin Group guilty of rioting and damaging public property, according to local media reports.

They have been sentenced to jail terms and flogging in a hearing that lasted about four hours, Arabic daily Al-Watan reported.

Workers from the construction company protested last year after their salaries were delayed for up to six months.

Those sentenced in court were allegedly involved with rioting and burning buses used to transport workers.

Read more: Saudi workers set fire to buses after ‘50,000 sacked’

Some of the defendants received four months in prison and 300 lashes after being charged for their involvement in the riots, damaging public property, and inciting other workers to join.

Others were sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Construction firm Saudi Binladin Group was among the worst hit by the liquidity crunch in Saudi Arabia caused by the drop in oil prices. It was also badly hit by a ban from new projects after the Makkah Grand Mosque crane disaster.

The firm was reported to have laid off up to 77,000 expatriate workers in May last year, many of whom were owed months of wages.

Read: Binladin latest: Firm cuts 77,000 jobs, could lay off Saudis

In October, an official from the company claimed that Binladin had paid its dues to most of the laid-off workers after it had received payments from the Saudi government.

“They got paid completely with all their due salaries and their final indemnities,” the company’s chief communications office, Yaseen Alattas, told AFP.

Read: Saudi Binladin receives new funds to pay workers

The government reportedly paid Saudi Binladin between $800m and $1.1bn in September to cover unpaid wages.

In June, reports also suggested that the company was selling off property and other assets to pay workers.

Read: Saudi Binladin Group selling off property, other assets to pay workers

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