By Dimah Talal Alsharif
As Hajj season approaches, the Saudi Ministry of Interior has introduced a draft of provisions and penalties for violators of Hajj regulations. It aims to reduce violations of the Hajj-related laws and regulations, such as performing Hajj without authorization documents, to avoid regulatory problems in the management and organization of crowds.
When preparing the draft, no similar international experiments have been adopted or applied because of the unique nature of this ritual performed at the holy places.
The draft stated many violations and fines, where anyone who enters the holy places (Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat) without permission will face a fine of SR15,000 ($4,000). Moreover, it will be documented at the Hajj-related portals that he or she had performed Hajj that year, and if repeated, the penalties imposed in the previous season will double.
Moreover, a fine of SR10,000 will be imposed on those caught in violation (Ihram without permission) at the entrances to Makkah and the holy places, as well as the train station. If repeated, the penalties signed will be doubled, and the violator will not be able to perform Hajj.
The penalties for the previous two offenses shall be applied from the 28 of Dhu Al-Qaeda (the month before the Hajj month) of each year. If one of these violations is repeated for the third time, the violator will be punished with a fine, in addition to being referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of their imprisonment for a minimum of one month, and not more than 6 months.
Furthermore, anyone who transports pilgrims without Hajj permits will face a fine of not more than SR50,000, based on the number of pilgrims, or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. The vehicle will be confiscated if it is owned by the carrier.
As for violators from non-Gulf Cooperation Council countries, they will be deported from Saudi Arabia and prevented from entering the Kingdom in accordance with the terms and procedures set by a regulation issued by the Ministry of Interior.
By Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif
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