Saudi Arabia issues tough warning to pilgrim smugglers
The Ministry of Interior issued a stern warning to motorists transporting people who intend to perform Hajj without permit
The Saudi Ministry of Interior has issued a stern warning to motorists transporting people who intend to perform Hajj without permit to Makkah and the holy sites.
It said any driver found transporting illegal pilgrims would be arrested, imprisoned for 15 days and his vehicle seized.
The illegal pilgrim, whether he is a Saudi or an expatriate, faces a fine of SR10,000. If the driver repeats the offense, he will be jailed for two months and will have to pay a fine of SR25,000 for every pilgrim he transported.
If the driver repeats the violation again after he was punished for a second time, the prison term will be raised to six months and the amount of fine to SR50,000.
Expatriate violators will be deported upon release from prison and will be barred from entering the Kingdom for a specified period. The ministry said the decision would be enforced during this Hajj season.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday August 15, 2015.