Seine-Saint-Denis. 7 men prosecuted after the death of two undocumented workers on a construction site

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The trial of seven men prosecuted after the death of two undocumented workers on a construction site in Épinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis) in 2019 opened on Monday before the Bobigny Criminal Court.

On June 8, 2019, the two victims, Kamel Benstaali, 34, and Omar Azzouz, 29, participated in the rehabilitation of the Cité La Source, a 478-unit housing project whose lessor is Plaine Commune Habitat.

That day, a Saturday, they were working on the thermal renovation from the outside of 18e floor of a building when the basket they were working on broke loose. Neither was trained to participate in work at height.

Up to 5 years imprisonment and 75,000 euros fine

An expert report in the file identified “a lack of anchoring” of the platform.

Seven men aged 37 to 61 are on trial in court for, among other things, manslaughter, provision of work equipment to workers without verification of its compliance and concealed work. They face up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.

Three construction companies are also on the bench of the defendants as legal persons.

The two victims had been living in France for three years.

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Mr. Benstaali, of Algerian origin, was homeless and lived on “odd jobs”, detailed Monday the president of the court Elisabeth Dugre. He had been hired on the site a week before his death.

“A classic construction lawsuit”

Previously, “he worked in the markets” and had “no qualification” in the construction industry, assured his cousin.

Omar Azzouz, of Moroccan nationality, was a “plaquiste” time in Grenoble but was not really qualified, underlined the president.

Under the rubble, the relief will discover that one was wearing “jeans”, and the other “tennis”, detailed the magistrate.

“It’s a classic construction trial,” said Jean-Philippe Feldman, lawyer for the two families of the victims, before the hearing. “The challenge is to determine responsibilities. How did two unqualified people end up on this big job? “, he told AFP.

The trial is due to end on Friday.

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