TWO illegal residents who should have been deported several months ago have gone on hunger strike in a bid to highlight their plight. Briton Paul Johnstone and American Hugh Sylvester were both jailed for 10 days last year for not having valid residence permits.
Judges ordered they be deported after completing their sentences, but they remain stuck in prison because of travel bans and have no idea when they will be sent home.
Mr Johnstone has been in prison for eight months and Mr Sylvester since last December. Bahrain-based Gulf European Centre for Human Rights, which has taken up their case with the authorities, demanded they be sent home immediately.
"Both men applied for renewal of their residency some years ago, which was refused by immigration authorities leaving them stranded and destitute in Bahrain," said director-general Faisal Fulad. "They now have no means of paying off any debts they may have previously incurred. "It is outrageous that they are now jailed for not being legal. "The normal procedure for unwanted citizens in the country is 10 days in jail and deportation and to keep them longer is clear violation of rights under many treaties signed by Bahrain. "We request that they are sent home immediately, along with any other prisoners being held for not having a visa when their application was refused." Mr Fulad said Bahrain had been under the spotlight recently for holding people on travel bans for debts and refusing them residency, meaning they were unable to work to pay off what they owe. firstname.lastname@example.org