Financial News

Bahrain banks hold expats hostage over unpaid debts

Expats in dispute with banks in Bahrain over loan or credit card debts are held hostage with a travel ban that stops them leaving the country.

Human rights lobbyists are calling on the Bahraini government to investigate the laws they claim are abused by financial institutions.

The Gulf Centre For Human Rights explained that laws in Bahrain let financial institutions routinely apply to a civil court for the travel ban unless outstanding credit is repaid in full.

The group has a list of ex pats who were stopped from boarding flights out of the country over a disputed debt they knew nothing about.

GECHR director general Faisal Fulad said: “It is concerning that any customer who has a loan or a credit card with a bank in Bahrain is at risk of being travel banned for non-payment, regardless of whether they have extenuating circumstances or not.”

“We believe this is a violation of human rights treaties signed by Bahrain, and does not comply with banking regulations, seriously jeopardising Bahrain as centre of excellence for the banking industry.”

Another action group, the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS), is highlighting the case of about 4,000 travel ban victims to the United Nations.

The government in Bahrain is facing severe pressure to improve human rights laws.

This year’s Formula One grand prix only went ahead with strict security precautions following demonstrations – and last year’s race was called off.

Protestors in jail are on hunger strike and troops and police have faced violent protests on the streets for more than a year as part of the Arab Spring uprising across North Africa and the Middle East.

Expats commenting in local media claim the government regime in Bahrain is benign compared to many that have faced Arab Spring revolts – with religious sectarianism between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims at the root.

Below is a list of related articles you may find of interest.

2 thoughts on “Bahrain banks hold expats hostage over unpaid debts”

  1. I lived and worked in the UAE for many years. I saw the locals rip the tourists, the xpats and especially the Indian workers off in grand style. Most of the xpats I knew planned on leaving behind debts, big ones. Not that I care much, but I do disaprove of those xpats who went on a shopping trip in Dubai to stock up on Rolex and Chanel before leaving the debts behind. But then I hear of Arabs doing the same thing in London. The banks seem to be running away from their debts, or foreclosing, or getting various governments to bail them out of bad debts. Guess it is hard to feel sorry for banksters. By the by, I thought the UAE was very corrupt, with more alcohol and prostitutes than any western country, not sure about Bahrain, but my guess would be it is not far behind the UAE.

  2. Hi
    One of my friend paid all the dues to one financial institution still he is under travel Ban.Now the financial institution blaming the court ,not the fault of financial institutions.For the last two weeks we are doing the shuttles from Financial institutions, Lawyer office and court.
    So sad the situation. Court says talk to Immigration authorities but unfortunately no one is picking the phone, because of this pandemic none is allowed to visit immigration department.
    Whom to complaint. Only god knows.


Leave a Comment