Jakarta (ANTARA) - Twenty two Indonesian pilgrims who the Saudi Arabian authorities detained for visa violation on Tuesday (May 28) were deported on Saturday evening (June 1), a senior Indonesian diplomat said.

"They fly home this (Saturday) evening," Indonesian Consul General in Jeddah Yusron B.Ambarie said on Saturday with regard to the case of the Indonesian pilgrims recently detained in the outskirts of Medina.

Taking a lesson from this case, Ambarie repeated his call for Indonesian Muslims to comply with the Saudi laws and regulations because the Saudi Government imposes serious legal sanctions against visa violators.

The visa violators are not only requested to pay a fine of 10,000 riyal but they are also deported and banned from traveling to Saudi for 10 years, he said.

For travel coordinators, the legal sanctions will be tougher as they are requested to pay a fine of 50,000 riyal, sentenced to six months in prison, and put on travel ban list for 10 years, he said.

"So, please, comply with the Saudi Government's rules and regulations. Don't let your Hajj savings disappear like that," Ambarie added.

The Saudi Arabian authorities detained the 22 Indonesian pilgrims along with two travel coordinators after they failed to show valid Hajj visa documents.

According to an Indonesian Hajj Management Committee (PPIH) official for the Bir Ali area, they were detained after they took miqat at Dhu'l-Hulayfah Mosque, which is located about nine kilometers from Medina or about 450 kilometers from Mecca.

Miqat means a place outside Mecca that Muslim pilgrims are prohibited to cross before they are in the sacred state or ihram if they are willing to perform Umrah or Hajj at Masjidil Haram Grand Mosque.

The Dhu'l-Hulayfah Mosque, which is also known by Indonesian Hajj pilgrims as Bir Ali Mosque, is the miqat for the city of Medina's residents and those approaching the holy city of Mecca from Medina's direction.

According to Head of the PPIH-Bir Ali Sector Aziz Hegemur, the Indonesian pilgrims reached Dhu'l-Hulayfah Mosque by bus at 12 noon local time on Tuesday (May 28).

In response to this case, Indonesian Foreign Ministry's Director for the Protection of Citizens and Legal Entities Judha Nugraha said earlier that the 22 Indonesian pilgrims and their two travel coordinators entered Saudi Arabia for Hajj by using the "Syakhsiyah" pilgrimage visa documents.

The two travel coordinators are Indonesian citizens. Therefore, the Indonesian Government would provide them with legal assistance during their trial at the Saudi court, he said.

While 22 pilgrims get deported, the two travel coordinators will be tried along with the bus driver and owner of the bus used for carrying the pilgrims taking miqat at the Dhu'l-Hulayfah Mosque, he added.

For this year's Hajj season, Indonesia secured a pilgrim quota of 241 thousand.

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Translator: Yashinta, Asep F, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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