An MP has called for abolishing travel bans for anyone owing small sums to banks and companies.
“It’s not right to restrict someone’s freedom of mobility because he or she owes money as low as BD15,” Public Utilities and Environment Committee Head MP Hamad Al Dossary told DT News yesterday.
The MP recently submitted a proposal with the aim of amending Article 159 of the legislative Decree 46 of 2002 with respect to promulgating the code of criminal procedures.
The article reads, “The Attorney General and the competent court may, upon hearing an extension of the provisional detention should it be decided to release an accused in a felony or misdemeanour punishable by imprisonment and where it is in the interest of the investigation to bar him from traveling abroad, issue an order for including him in the lists of persons prohibited from traveling abroad.”
It also mentions, “The accused may contest such order before the High Criminal Court held in the Consultation Room. Should his challenge be dismissed, he may file a new one whenever one month passes since the date of dismissing the challenge unless the case is referred to the court that has jurisdiction to hear it in which case the travel ban order or its cancellation shall be subject to its competence.”
Al Dossary’s proposal comes to add the following text to the article, “The Attorney General or the competent court may, in accordance with the circumstances, waive the order to prevent traveling abroad in accordance with the requirements of the investigation”.
Explaining further, the MP told, “This grants the public prosecution or the court the jurisdiction to waive the travel ban, in accordance to the severity of the crime committed.”
“The Kingdom’s constitution guarantees personal freedoms. There are certain cases that don’t require barring defendants from leaving the Kingdom, because of humanitarian or other urgent reasons. Most of the travel bans are imposed by telecommunication companies for small amounts. We have received many complaints from citizens and residents about this. There should be more flexibility in dealing with such cases,” Al Dossary said.
He added that the proposal is referred to the concerned committees in the House of Representatives, who will review it with the relevant authorities, before it could come back to the council for voting.
As reported earlier, many people, especially expats, have suffered from travel bans in Bahrain. The struggle reached to committing suicide in some cases.
In addition to barring them from travelling abroad, the decision previously prevented the renewal or issuance of new work permits.
This continued until November, 2015, when the Labour Market Regulatory Authority and Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry reached an agreement to scrap this particular part.
The ministry also launched an online service on the same month, allowing citizens and residents to obtain information concerning their legal status in relation to travel bans before considering traveling abroad.
They could be easily accessed through www.services.bahrain.bh/wps/portal/TravelBan_en .