“Political approaches in Hajj stampede case should be avoided”
Tehran, Iran, October 11
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Efforts should be made to prevent the presentation of the Hajj stampede case as a political dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Mohsen Esmaili, lawyer member of Iran's Guardian Council said.
It is necessary that the issue is taken away from the domestic sphere and pursued as an international case, Esmaili told Trend on October 10.
The issue should be pursued in the legal arena with all the countries affected and political approaches should be avoided, he reiterated.
On Sept. 24, a stampede occurred in the Mina valley, where Muslims were performing the Hajj rites. According to the latest reports, 465 Iranian pilgrims were among those who lost their lives in the Mina stampede.
Esmaili also said that despite a recent statement by the Saudi government, official apology is still expected from Riyadh as the host government of the Hajj ceremony in which the incident took place.
Saudi Arabia should step forward to launch a fact-finding committee and investigate the case in order to prevent similar incidents in the future, Esmaili stressed.
The official said Saudi Arabia's act of restricting access to information related to the incident comprises concealment of truth.
He further said it will first of all be in the favor of Saudi Arabia if a body of representatives from affected countries investigates the case.
The previous deadliest-ever incident at the annual hajj happened in 1990, when a stampede killed 1,426 people. Stampedes and crushes are a major danger at the Hajj, since it attracts more than 2 million pilgrims a year, all moving simultaneously in close quarters through a number of rituals over the course of five days.
Iran says it had 465 pilgrims killed, while Egypt lost 165 and Indonesia 120.