The Jakarta Post
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested hundreds of Indonesians for performing the haj in Mecca without a haj permit, officials have said.
Saudi Arabia has detained 229 Indonesians who overstayed their permits or work outside of Mecca, Dicky Yunus, the acting Indonesian consulate general in Jeddah, said. His office coordinated with local authorities to handle the case. The Indonesians consist of 155 females, 59 males and 15 children. They were arrested at two illegal shelters after allegedly paying a sum of money to a syndicate that arranged their pilgrimage.
"Basically, they have violated Saudi Arabian law by entering Mecca for haj without acquiring tasreeh [haj permit]. But we will keep giving them legal assistance and we will make sure they are detained in a proper place and have their legal rights respected," Dicky said in a press statement released by the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta on Friday evening.
The arrested Indonesians could be sentenced to six years in prison and barred from Saudi Arabia for 10 years, according to the law.
The police are investigating the case and the punishments will vary depending on the violations, Dicky said, adding that the detainees had been taken to the Tarhil Syumaisi immigration detention facility located between Jeddah and Mecca. (rin)
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