Iran’s attorney general urges justice for culprits in Mina tragedy

Iran’s attorney general says justice must be served for the culprits in the tragedy of September 24 in Mina during the annual Hajj pilgrimage that killed hundreds, including more than 130 Iranians.

“The Al Saud (ruling family) must know that we will pursue the trial of the culprits of this crime through international courts,” Ebrahim Raeisi said on Saturday, IRIB News reported.

The official, who for years served as the deputy head of Iran’s judiciary, said the crush in the Mina valley, just outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was a “crime” and it should not simply be viewed as a result of incompetence on the part of Saudi authorities.

“It is not only incompetence, but a crime,” said Raeisi, calling on the Saudi government to put those responsible on trial.

He added that Saudi officials’ closure of a road in Mina which was usually used by the pilgrims for many years was to blame for the deadly incident, saying that the move was “deliberate” and therefore safety of the pilgrims could have been ensured.

Raeisi said, however, that any potential legal action by Iran should be compounded by negotiations with attorney generals of other Islamic countries.

People walk past Saudi ambulances carrying injured pilgrims at an emergency hospital in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on September 24, 2015, hours after a crush that left more than 700 pilgrims dead and hundreds wounded. (AFP photo)

The remarks came as Iran summoned for the third time in three days, the Saudi charge d’affaires in Tehran, to demand explanations on the fate of 344 Iranians who were still unaccounted for, two days after the disaster.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, said a list of missing Iranians has been passed on to Saudi authorities. Officials in Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say 102 people have also been injured in the incident and are receiving treatment in Iranian health facilities in Saudi Arabia. At least 136 Iranian nationals were also killed.

Iran’s special team to follow up on fate of the missing

The Iranian government has assigned a special delegation to follow up on the cases of those missing and injured, while the team will also monitor transportation of the bodies of those killed back to Iran, which is scheduled to take place on Monday.

Media reports said the Saudi government has reportedly refused to grant visa to Iranian Culture Minister Ali Janati, who is to head the delegation to the kingdom. Earlier reports said Iranian Minister of Health Hassan Hashemi has also been denied a visa by Saudi authorities on the grounds that access to the injured is not yet possible.

Secretary General of Iran’s Red Crescent Society Ali Asqar Ahmadi said Saudi Arabia is not issuing permits for a special flight to return the injured Iranian pilgrims, saying it was the reason why the injured pilgrims have not been returned home for medical treatment.

By Press TV