Published: 2023-09-13 13:34
Last Updated: 2023-09-26 02:31
Jordanians are set to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragic Al-Weibdeh incident that unfolded on September 13, 2022. This event claimed the lives of 14 people and left nine others injured, casting a pall of sorrow over the nation.
On that day, a multi-story residential building suddenly collapsed, crashing onto an adjacent house. In the days that followed, tireless efforts were made by authorities to extract victims from the rubble and search for survivors.
The Al-Weibdeh tragedy left a mark on the hearts of Jordanians, prompting a concerted response from relevant authorities to bolster safety measures and construction regulations. The aim is to prevent the recurrence of such disasters in the future.
The Public Prosecution initiated investigations, collecting evidence at the site and gathering statements from eyewitnesses and victims' families. A technical committee comprising experts and specialists was convened to determine the technical factors contributing to the building's collapse and ascertain legal and criminal responsibilities. The case eventually landed in the Amman Magistrate Court.
Following extensive and comprehensive inquiries, the Public Prosecution arrested three individuals in connection with the incident: the building owner who was also its supervisor, the maintenance contractor, and the maintenance technician.
They faced charges of causing death (repeated 14 times) and causing harm (repeated 9 times). The case was subsequently transferred to the Amman Penal Magistrate Court.
The judicial proceedings began on Sep. 25 of 2022, with two sessions held weekly. The defendants maintained their innocence when questioned about the charges.
The court extended the detention of the defendants for up to a month in correctional and rehabilitation centers, ultimately releasing them after the legally mandated detention period elapsed, which prohibits the detention of misdemeanor defendants for over a month.
Over the course of 44 trial sessions, in addition to the judgment session, the court heard testimony from 31 witnesses and reviewed evidence presented by the Public Prosecution, including input from forensic doctors, experts, specialists, and the victims' families. Defense attorneys for the defendants also presented their evidence and witnesses.
The specialized experts' report presented to the court attributed the main building's collapse to maintenance work that had been underway on the basement floor that day, including the removal of the central column, uncovering various violations related to basement construction.
While the families of eight deceased individuals waived their personal rights against the defendants, others did not. In total, the tragedy claimed the lives of 14 individuals and injured nine.
The Amman Magistrate Court concluded the case related to the collapse of two buildings in the Al-Weibdeh area. Following 45 public sessions presided over by Judge Sharaf Abu Latifa, the court handed down the most severe penalties allowed by law, sentencing two of the defendants to three years of imprisonment. Both the building owner and the maintenance contractor were convicted of causing death (repeated 14 times).