Saudi man jailed over transport of illegal pilgrims

Cairo: Saudi authorities have ordered the jailing of a citizen for 15 days and paying a fine of SR40,000 for transporting four illegal pilgrims, local media reported.

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The administrative decree issued by the Saudi General Directorate of Passports also included naming the offender in public to shame him as part of the penalty. He was identified as Salem Al Rubae.

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Security forces have manned checkpoints at entrances to the Saudi holy city of Mecca to expose violators of regulations set for the Muslim pilgrimage that commenced on Sunday.

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Earlier this month, Saudi authorities started enforcing a SR10,000 fine to illegal entry of the holy Islamic sites as the country has stepped up efforts to organise the annual pilgrimage season amid strict measures against COVID-19. The penalty doubles in the case of repeating the violation.

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Hajj, one of Islam’s five pillars, is a must for all Muslims to perform at least once in a lifetime if they can financially and physically afford it.

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Around 60,000 Saudi and foreign Muslims residing in the kingdom representing 150 countries have been picked to perform this year’s Hajj.

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Eligible pilgrims must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, free of chronic diseases and aged between 18 to 65 years.

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