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Nine Shia Bahraini Hajj pilgrims detained in Saudi Arabia

Muslim pilgrims prepare themselves for Friday prayers in front of the Ka’aba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on September 9, 2016. (Photo by AP)

A Bahraini human rights group says authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested nine Shia Bahraini Muslims in the kingdom after they had performed Hajj rituals, refusing to provide any information about the charges leveled against them.

Hussain Radhi, with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said on Saturday that Saudi security forces had detained the Bahraini nationals four days ago, while their fate together with charges brought against them remain unknown, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

Radhi noted that Saudi officials had briefly arrested the nine Shia Bahrainis upon arrival on the Saudi soil, booked them at police custody and confiscated their passports before letting them go.

Saudi authorities then reviewed the Bahraini citizens’ case after the completion of their Hajj rituals and decided to re-arrest them.

Earlier this month, Saudi authorities detained 229 Indonesians for allegedly attempting to join the Hajj rituals without proper permits.

They had purportedly paid a local syndicate to help them join this year’s Hajj rituals without having to acquire the necessary documents, and were arrested at two Hajj pilgrim shelters around the city of Mecca.

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