01/04/2017, 11.03
SAUDI ARABIA
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Riyadh, strike against non-payment of salaries: immigrants arrested and flogged

A Saudi court has imposed four months in prison and 300 lashes for damage to public property. Nationality of convicted immigrants unknown. The workers were employees of construction giants Binladin Group and Saudi Oger. Behind the crisis, the collapse of revenue in the oil industry, which has had an impact on the state budget.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Saudi court has sentenced dozens of migrant workers to imprisonment and flogging, employees of the construction giant Binladin Group, for having gone on strike against non-payment of back wages.

The Saudi press has not yet specified the nationality of the workers who were on strike over arrears in monthly salaries; the protests eventually escalated into street violence, which led to the arrests.

The first to report the incident was Arab newspaper Al-Watan et Arab News, which, however, it did not clarify the nationality of migrant workers. Some diplomats contacted by AFP were unable (or unwilling) to clarify the affair, claiming to not know the details.

A group of workers has been sentenced to four months in prison and 300 lashes for damage to public property and inciting public disorder. Others received a lighter sentence, for a maximum of 45 days in prison inflicted by a Mecca court.

For some time the workers of the construction industry, employees of Binladin Group and Saudi Oger, have not been paid in part because of the crisis in the oil sector, which has led to a slump in revenues. The same Saudi government late on payments, is aggravating the debts of the two companies.

As the name reveals, the Arab multinational company founded in 1931 is owned by the family of Osama bin Laden - the al Qaeda leader and once the most wanted man in international Islamic terrorism – who was one of the 52 sons of the founder Mohammed bin Laden. Among the various appointments made by the founder, the restoration of the famous al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. However, today the group is in crisis and the image of a crane collapse in September 2015 at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which caused the death of 109 people has certainly not helped. The group's crisis, exacerbated by the collapse in oil revenue, has also led to the dismissal last May of tens of thousands foreign workers.

The Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Aljadaan intervened recently on the crisis in the construction industry. On December 22 last, during a press conference dedicated to the presentation of financial statements for 2017, the top government official assured that the payment of arrears will be "within 60 days". 

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