11 Indonesian pilgrims detained

August 2, 2015 | Ghazanfar Ali Khan

RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.
The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizens detained by police on charges not known at the moment.
There have been reports that the Indonesian citizens are being questioned by police. “We are coordinating with our friends in Jeddah to find out more information about these citizens, who are undergoing questioning,” said the Indonesian director general for Haj and Umrah, Abdul Djamil, in a statement on Saturday.
“The charges for which they have been detained may be religious or otherwise,” said a source, while playing down the incident. He said that the Indonesian diplomatic missions have been involved in redressing the grievances of workers and pilgrims, who flock to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah by the millions every year.
A report published in the “Jakarta Post” newspaper said that “the Indonesians, two of whom are women, are being held at a temporary custody office in Makkah.” The leader of the group, Zubair Amir Abdullah, 47, has been taken to a hospital to undergo psychiatric examination, said the report.
Indonesian officials are hopeful that they will be able to resolve the case with the help of Saudi officials.
A large number of workers were also repatriated to Indonesia following a general amnesty announced by the Kingdom recently. But, still there are about 18 workers, mainly housemaids, on death row in Saudi Arabia. They include nine female workers facing death penalty in the Western Province for their alleged involvement in various crimes.
The embassy has been seeking clemency in most of these cases. This has resulted in the resolution of several cases in which the workers were either released or their sentences commuted.

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Ghazanfar Ali Khan