Why Syrians in Saudi Arabia are choosing jail over deportation

Syrians are being detained in Saudi Arabia for failing to renew their residency permits, or for "absconding" from their sponsors linked to Saudi Arabia's notorious kafala system.

An investigation by Al-Araby Al-JadeedThe New Arab's sister publication, sheds light on the desperate cases of those choosing to remain detained for years rather than face deportation to Syria, and those who have been lucky enough – a minority – to secure transferral to a third country.

Qasim Al-Hindi Al-Barghouth, a Syrian who has lived in Saudi Arabia since 2012, had two choices after being detained in a centre belonging to the General Department of Expatriate Affairs in Mecca. He could either pay for his own deportation to Syria, or he could remain in detention indefinitely, after his sponsor filed a complaint against him on 8 October 2019, claiming he had absconded.

English | November 18, 2021



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