Umra pilgrims trapped in Jedda say they are being harassed by security

Thousands of returning Egyptian Umra pilgrims Wednesday continued to suffer on their second day of being stranded at Jedda International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

The pilgrims said airline employees have not served them food for 72 hours, and have forbidden them from buying medicine or using toilets.

They also said that Saudi employees “insulted” the Egyptian revolution, told them that former President Hosni Mubarak will not be convicted, and threatened to refer them to the Saudi intelligence service.

“They have ridiculed us for bringing Mubarak to court,” said Khaled al-Sherbiny, who finally returned on Wednesday after having been stranded with 1500 other pilgrims for 22 hours.

“They put more than 1500 pilgrims in a small lounge with just one toilet for men and women to share,” he said. “And they only allowed flights carrying other nationalities to depart, leaving the Egyptians behind.”

Sherbiny added that Saudi Arabian Airlines has violated international aviation law, which obliges an airline to serve meals to passengers if a flight is delayed for three hours or more, and accommodate them in hotels if the delay exceeds seven hours. 

Sherbiny and the other passengers refused to leave their plane when it arrived in Cairo, set on filing a police report against the airline and the Saudi Consulate.

“The Saudi Consulate and the embassy did not reply to callers asking about their stranded relatives,” he said, also blaming the Egyptian consulate in Jedda for not helping the pilgrims. 

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a woman said Saudi security personnel were threatening the pilgrims with tasers.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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