Briton homeless in Bahrain


This September 2013 video is called Human Rights Watch: Bahrain children beaten & tortured for taking part in protests.

Fast Cars – Bahrain’s Response to the Protest Movement Is the Equivalent of a Reckless Joyrider: here.

From Gulf Daily News:

Briton struggling to survive

By FRANCES LEATE, Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A BRITISH expat is gearing up for Christmas in Bahrain by stealing food from supermarkets and living on the streets.

While thousands of expatriates return home to celebrate the festive season with loved ones, the 50-year-old claims to be one of scores of people left destitute and stranded in Bahrain after his company stopped paying him.

The former marketing manager, who has held various positions around the world, is now destitute and unable to leave Bahrain due to a travel ban.

“When I came to Bahrain, my whole life changed forever and I wish I had never agreed to the contract,” said the Briton, who asked to remain anonymous as he was “too ashamed” to be named.

“Now I sleep out on the streets quite often and I sometimes don’t have anything to eat, but my ’employer’ is a multi-millionaire.”

He claims he is owed BD40,000 by his former employer Masy International, which allegedly stopped paying him in 2011.

“I had to put everything on my credit cards so I could just cover my rent and every month they told us next month they would pay us,” he said.

“But it just went on and on and in the end I couldn’t put petrol in my car to get to work.”

The man, originally from Hertfordshire, now has a travel ban imposed on him because he owes BD4,000 to Citibank, as well as money he owes to HSBC and BMI.

“I could never have imagined my life would come to this, the other day I stole a wallet from a car so I could pay for somewhere to stay,” he said.

“I stole mushrooms from a supermarket just so I could eat.

“I would hate anyone who used to know me to see me now. I just wish I had never taken the job and come to work in Bahrain.”

3 thoughts on “Briton homeless in Bahrain

  1. Why be ashamed of yourself if you have been a victim of a scam? surely your friends would understand, that you have knowledge to share and deter others who may end up compromised, after all, I think its interesting you have become what you have become, and it seems a good story, of developing one’s character.

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    • Maybe he felt ashamed of himself because, when he still was marketing manager, he moved in circles where being poor was considered to be a shame; and he internalized that idea even after becoming poor, because of fraud by a millionaire, himself.

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  2. Call to help travel ban victims

    By FRANCES LEATE , Posted on » Monday, February 10, 2014

    DIPLOMATS have denied accusations they are not doing enough to help their nationals allegedly living as destitutes in Bahrain.

    Thousands of people of a variety of nationalities are thought to be stranded with bans on their passports due to debt.

    It means they often have problems finding a new job as they can only work within Bahrain and sometimes new employers cannot secure them a work visa.

    At least 15 Britons are understood to be stranded here as a result of the controversial practice.

    Travel ban campaigner Val Brown said she was “appalled” by what she described as the “lack of action.”

    “I can’t believe they are allowing nationals to be homeless and in some cases starving, unable to get work and banned from returning home,” she said.

    “It is so shocking.

    “They cannot leave these people in this destitute state.

    “I think there are a lot of people starting to ask questions and wanting to know exactly what is being done to help these people.

    “Is the British government even aware of what is going on?

    At a recent meeting to discuss the building of an expatriate shelter, representatives from the British Embassy told the GDN they had been helping a Briton in his 80s who had been stranded in Bahrain for several years because of a travel ban.

    But a spokeswoman yesterday said officials were working behind the scenes to help the scores of travel ban victims living in Bahrain.

    “British Ambassador Iain Lindsay regularly raises the issue of travel bans with the Bahraini authorities and lobbied successfully for the concession to enable those under travel bans to work legally,” he said.

    “However, the embassy is unable to raise funds to assist those affected by a ban.

    “Full details of what assistance British Embassies and Consulates are able to give to British nationals can be found through the ‘Know Before You go Campaign’ and our travel advice pages.”

    Speaking shortly after taking office in 2011, Mr Lindsay pledged to help resolve the plight of people stranded in Bahrain because of travel bans.

    At the time, he said the embassy was helping around 15 Britons with travel bans.

    Mr Lindsay said his main concern was not the travel ban itself, but the fact that victims were unable to renew their residency permit as a result and therefore could not obtain a work visa.

    This leaves the victims unable to pay off their debts or earn a basic living while stranded here.

    The GDN reported last November that a 49-year-old Briton had been stuck in Bahrain on a travel ban for more than five years for a debt to American Express of around BD6,000.

    He was desperate to return home to the UK to see his terminally ill father, but was living hand-to-mouth with fishermen collecting tin cans from the streets and beaches for money.

    Another man, who claimed his former employer owed him more than BD40,000 in unpaid wages, said he has been sleeping rough and was forced to steal food from supermarkets because of his ban.

    He also owed around BD6,000 after accumulating credit card debts to pay his rent.

    Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) secretary-general Faisal Fulad said many embassies were reluctant to get involved in travel ban cases because they were too “political”.

    “They would prefer to keep a low-profile,” he said.

    The government last year announced 720 people in Bahrain had travel bans, however, Mr Fulad believes the number is much higher.

    “The BHRWS believes there are between 4,000 to 5,000 people in Bahrain with travel bans,” he said.

    “Year by year this is just going to get worse for Bahrain and it is against human rights.”

    He also wants action against the “credit card mafia” of loan companies, banks and credit card companies who encourage people to get into debt. frances@gdn.com.bh

    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=370278

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