Viral picture wrongly labeled, does not show Pakistanis arrested in Saudi

Arab media have not reported that culprits will be fined 60,000 Riyals

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Claim: A picture of men standing with their hands behind their backs is being shared on social media with the claim that it shows people who were chanting abusive slogans directed towards Pakistan’s new cabinet members outside Masjid-e-Nabvi in Madina having been arrested.

Fact: The image is a year-old image of people who had been arrested by the Saudi police for fraud.

Fact or Fiction

This picture was shared on Facebook  and Twitter shortly after  videos surfaced of  Pakistanis  chanting abusive slogans  directed towards  cabinet members of Pakistan’s new government near the entrance of Masjid-e-Nabvi. 

The caption accompanying  the picture says:

عرب نیوز کے مطابق سعودی حکومت نے مسجد نبوی کا تقدس پامال کرنے اور نعرہ بازی کرنے والوں کو 60 ہزار ریال “جرمانہ،5سال قید اور تاحیات پابندی کا فیصلہ کیا گیا ہے ویڈیوز کے ذریعے نعرے لگانے والو کی شناخت کا عمل شروع

[According to Arab News Saudi government has fined those who disrespected the sanctity of Masjid e Nabvi by 60,000 Riyals and have decided to put them behind bars for 5 years and ban them for life (from entering Saudi). Video (footages) are being used to identify culprits]

According to recent reporting, Saudi authorities have in fact apprehended five Pakistanis involved in the Madina incident for violating the rules of the mosque. However, the image being circulated online is not of these individuals. In fact, the image is from 14 April 2021 and shows a group of people who were apprehended by Saudi police in the city of Riyadh for a reported instance of fraud amounting to 35 million Riyals. The picture can be seen with the original story here and here

In addition, Arab media have not reported on the potential sanctions faced by the apprehended individuals. Speaking to Soch Fact Check, Pakistan correspondent of Arab News Naimat Khan confirmed that Arab news outlets have not reported that those arrested face a 60,000 Riyal fine, five-year imprisonment and a life-time ban on entering Saudi Arabia. 

According to Geo News, Saudi publication Saudi Gazette has said the spokesperson of the Madina Police confirmed that the suspects have been “referred to the competent authorities after legal procedures were completed against them”. However, whether these individuals will be punished and what that punishment may look like has not yet been reported. 

Virality

The false information has been shared across 58 posts, receiving   8,079 interactions..The post with the most interactions as per CrowdTangle data is this one with almost 2,000 likes and 338 shares, while the oldest post with the same image is this. Further examples can be seen here, here and here.

Meanwhile tweets with the same information can be seen, here, here and here.

Conclusion: Posts claiming picture of men standing with hands behind their back showing those involved in the recent Madina incident having been arrested are false. The image is in fact from 2021 and shows a group of people who were apprehended by Saudi police in connection with a high value fraud case. 

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