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Coronavirus: Mecca authorities name and shame Hajj permit violators

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.

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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.

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“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.

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Coronavirus: Mecca authorities stop 2,050 from illegally entering Hajj holy sites

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