Many lawyers say need to review travel ban
KUWAIT CITY, June 24: More than 3,000 orders for travel ban were issued in the last five months of this year, and only 1,650 of them have been lifted, as per official statistics of Ministry of Justice, reports Al-Rai daily.
There have been an increasing number of complaints from citizens and expatriates on whom travel ban has been imposed, especially over simple financial cases that do not exceed KD 1 or even KD 0.500 in some instances. Some of them are government fees which are not intentionally ignored, as many are not aware of them because they were not notified about them or about the travel ban that was imposed on them.
Various lawyers have urged the need to review the travel ban, especially since the law, here in Kuwait, does not differentiate between a travel ban over thousands of dinars and that over a few dinars. They suggested the travel ban should not be imposed on those with financial dues less than KD 300.
They insisted that the law should be reviewed particularly the aspect of notification, because the ban restricts freedom without even notifying the affected person.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr Faleh Al-Azeb announced that he has commissioned departments of execution of judicial ruling and charges in Ministry of Justice to prepare a draft law for preventing restriction of movement for citizens and expatriates through the travel bans imposed over non-payment of small financial dues and simple cases.
At the same time, the minister indicated about the government’s inclination to ensure completion of transaction in settling the financial dues through payment to the government instead of the travel ban measure. He said Ministry of Justice will initially stop imposing travel bans for final rulings that demand payment of less than KD 100, or any charges directed to state which do not exceed that amount.
Dr Al-Azeb stressed that the ministry is working on measures that will end restrictions on movement of citizens and expatriates who fail to pay simple amounts ordered by final judicial rulings or fines or governmental dues. He explained that the concerned departments will work on setting up a draft mechanism that will determine the value of fines and dues that necessitate imposition of travel ban.
The decision to impose travel ban on an individual will depend on the amount owed and the nature of the case. Al-Azib affirmed that there will be a mechanism which will guarantee collection of public dues and execution of judiciary rulings without the need to restrict travel freedom of citizens and expatriates as long as they have not committed a crime and they are not considered to be flight risk.
In the spirit of achieving these planned measures, a meeting was held in the past between Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance during which means for collecting financial dues owed to the state were discussed without the need to impose travel bans.
One of the suggested means was linking governmental transactions with settling financial dues either immediately or on installment basis for huge amounts.
In addition, the ministry is also aspiring to take steps for enabling an individual who has given power of attorney of any type to be able to cancel it through the ministry’s website without the need to visit the concerned department, and also for issuance of marriage certificates through smart cards, and the size of the civil ID card.