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Saudi to Allow Sale of Alcohol to Non-Muslim Diplomats


January 25, 2024

Saudi Arabia plans to allow the sale of alcohol to non-Muslim diplomats for the first time, two sources familiar with the plan told AFP on Wednesday.

Prohibition has been the law of the land in Saudi Arabia since 1952, shortly after one of King Abdulaziz’s sons got drunk and, in a rage, shot dead a British diplomat.

A Saudi government statement on Wednesday said authorities were introducing “a new regulatory framework… to counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods and products received by diplomatic missions”.

Alcohol “will (now) be sold to non-Muslim diplomats” who previously had to import alcohol via a diplomatic pouch.

Under Saudi law, penalties for consumption or possession of alcohol can include fines, jail time, public flogging and deportation for foreigners.