Illegal hajj pilgrims to be tried, sentenced within 24 hours

People who are caught trying to enter Makkah or the holy sites without hajj permits will be tried and sentenced within 24 hours

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People who are caught trying to enter Makkah or the holy sites without hajj permits will be tried and sentenced within 24 hours, according to a senior prison official.

“Verdicts of imprisonment and fines against illegal pilgrims will be issued within 24 hours,” said Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Anzi, director of the Department of Expatriates in the Directorate General of Prisons.

He said the ruling against illegal pilgrims and the drivers who transport them will be final.

Verdicts will be issued by special administrative committees stationed at checkpoints along the roads leading to Makkah and the holy sites, Anzi said.

Violators will be sent to the detention center near Al-Shumaisi checkpoint along the Jeddah-Makkah Expressway within 48 hours.

Anzi said that there are many exit routes before Makkah and holy site checkpoints to allow those without hajj permits to turn back. But if they try to cross the checkpoints without Hajj permits they will be arrested and tried.

Director of Traffic Department in Makkah Col. Basim Al-Badri said that no vehicle will be allowed to enter the main road leading to the holy sites from any service or a branch street.

More than 27,000 security personnel will be working during hajj to ensure the safety and security of the guests of Allah.

Commander of the Hajj Security Forces Gen. Khaled Al-Harbi said no slogan-shouting will be allowed during Hajj which is a message of peace and serenity.

He said the Kingdom has a long experience in crowd control by managing more than two million pilgrims who stay in Mina, Arafat and Makkah in a time span of five days.

“Our security cadres are quite capable of managing the masses and ensuring the safety and security of pilgrims,” he said.

Meanwhile, security aircraft on Monday rescued four Arab expatriates from Al-Hada mountain in Taif while they were on their way to enter the holy sites without hajj permits.

The four men were safely brought down from the peak of the mountain and handed over to the Red Crescent Authority for medical check-ups before they were handed over to the passport authorities.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Hatim Qadi said there were only about 7,000 overstayers from the umrah season who are mostly old and sick pilgrims receiving medical treatment in government hospitals.

“About six million pilgrims performed Umrah and returned to their respective homes,” he said.

Director of Makkah Police Maj. Gen. Saeed Al-Qarni announced on Sunday that as many as 188,747 people who attempted to enter Makkah without hajj permits were turned back from various check points.

He said 84,965 vehicles trying to illegally enter Makkah were stopped from entering the city. A total of 48 mini-buses carrying illegal pilgrims were confiscated.

Qarni said 22 fake hajj campaigns were uncovered during regular inspections.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on September 7, 2016.