Abdulaziz Saud

Saudi Regime and Aliens

On Wednesday Reuters ran a short article about Saudi Arabia's plan to expel 'illegal' aliens. The report said that, " Saudi Arabia is determined to drive up to 100,000 illegal aliens -- mainly Asians -- out of the kingdom, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. In a report on Tuesday night, it quoted an interior ministry statement warning those helping or sheltering illegal aliens of jail terms of up to six months and a 100,000 Riyals ($26,700) fine. 'The (interior ministry) source asserts the primary role of citizens and their responsibility in (helping) implement penalties against over-stayers and those residing in the land of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia illegally,' the statement said. 'The kingdom prohibits sheltering over-stayers, concealing or rendering any assistance that would contribute to their illegal stay,' it said.

The statement said the penalties applied to individuals who fail to report illegal aliens, companies employing them and landlords sheltering them. In July the labour ministry granted an amnesty to foreigners who entered Saudi Arabia on a visit or to perform the Moslem Hajj pilgrimage, but stayed longer than visas permitted. It said up to 100,000 people, mainly Asians, were in the country illegally. The campaign is designed to help solve current labour problems, in line with the country's commitment to provide jobs for an extra 659,900 Saudis by the year 2000. Foreigners make up one-third of Saudi Arabia's estimated 18 million population. In 1995 more than 100,000 illegal foreign workers left the country after authorities gave them a month to leave or face punishment".


We would like to point out that the article may be just a short statement in the press but it is a major, ruthless operation in the field. Hundreds of houses are raided in the middle of the night without any court order or warrant. The police are given Carte Blanche to net as many 'illegals' as possible. They are then crammed into detention centres and then eventually deported without being given any chance of redress or appeal let alone see a brief. What is worse is that the Saudi media glamourises the whole affair, telling the people that this is a worthy thing that they do to protect the country.

The fact remains that these 'illegal' aliens are treated worse than cattle because they are seen, by the government, as a malignant tumour. Thousands of aliens are brought in by princes who have sold them visas. They then find themselves out on the streets to fend for themselves without a job and eventually 'illegal'. It takes them many months to be able to save enough to afford a ticket home.

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