Authorities in Saudi Arabia have named and shamed at least seven people who recently violated rules on entry into the holy sites in Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage without a registered permit, according to a statement from the Kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports.
In total, 17 people were given financial penalties and jail terms totaling 170,000 Saudi riyals (45,326) and 105 days in prison collectively, according to officials.
A day earlier, security forces in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca stopped at least 2,050 people from illegally entering the holy sites without a permit during the limited Hajj pilgrimage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesman of the Hajj Security Forces Command.
Fines imposed on illegal entry into Mecca come into effect on July 19 ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage being held this year in a limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Muslim pilgrims in #Saudi Arabia take part in a symbolic stoning of the devil, but maintain social distancing in a ritual that usually brings millions of worshippers from all over the world shoulder to shoulder.https://t.co/GUNltAi9RH pic.twitter.com/7dyNp11N1U— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 31, 2020
"The General Directorate of Passports clarified that the administrative decisions issued by the seasonal administrative committees at the entrances to Mecca included an order to confiscate three vehicles that were used to transport people heading to perform the Hajj pilgrimage without a permit. The number of passengers transported who did not carry regular Hajj permits were 17 people,” the General Directorate of Passports said.
Only up to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were given permission to participate in this year's Hajj pilgrimage, compared with 2019's gathering of some 2.5 million from around the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A picture of a woman praying alone in front of the holy #Kaaba in #Mecca during #Hajj – an unusual occurrence at the site that sees over two million Muslims this time of year– has left hundreds on social media awestruck.https://t.co/KMCK539KdB— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 1, 2020