Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government will repatriate eight out of the 11 Saudi-detained Indonesian pilgrims on Thursday, after being jailed on charges of religious deviation since July 18.

Director of Citizens and Legal Entities Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lalu Muhammad Iqbal affirmed here on Thursday, that the 11 nationals would be repatriated by Saudi Airlines SV 816 and would arrive in Jakarta on Friday (August 14), at 11 a.m. local time.

According to the General Consulate Coordinator of Consular Function in Jeddah, Dicky Yunus, the leader and founder of the Association of Light Youth Syahid (Himpass) Zubair Amir Abdullah will also be repatriated in the first batch.

After their arrival in Jakarta, the eight pilgrims will travel to their hometown in Medan, North Sumatra.

Meanwhile, the three other pilgrims, who were detained at Shumaysi Immigration Detention Center, could not yet be repatriated due to their status as "mukimin," or holding a "work permit" in Saudi.

Dicky stated that a permit had to be sought from the sponsor or employer of the pilgrims to issue the exit permits in order to repatriate them.

"We will continue to make efforts to repatriate those three nationals as soon as possible," he noted.

"However, more importantly, we have been able to close the case without it being brought to court, as otherwise, it would have been a time-consuming process, and they would have been awarded heavier punishments," he emphasized.

The Saudi authorities arrested 11 Indonesian nationals as they were wearing black "gamis," or a long shirt-like dress, while performing the Eid prayer on July 18, or a day after the official day, at the Masjidil Haram Grand Mosque complex in Mecca.

The detainees comprise Zubir Amir Abdullah, Ismelda Harfianti Lubis, Kharmain Amir Abdullah, Rahmat Abdullah Makki Almalik, Rakhmat Syawal Lubisno, Rudi Aulia Usman Arif, Muhammad Zainullah Wahid, Muhammad Idris Ruslan, Muhammad Lubis, Joko Handoko Marore, and Jamsah Binti Jamin.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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