Criminal law Legal News

Extradition from the gulf countries – mission possible?

Foreigners committing crimes in Bulgaria (or against Bulgarian companies and individuals)

Interrogation and serving jail time in Bulgaria

When a foreigner commits a crime under the Bulgarian penal code, his presence in Bulgaria is required. This is in order for him to be interrogated and eventually to serve his sentence.

When the foreigner is residing in an EU country, or a country Bulgaria has signed certain agreements with, there is no problem. When required, the person will be extradited in an instant.

But when the foreigner is living in certain countries, the whole procedure becomes much more difficult.

Pakistani and Indian flags

We are currently preparing legal actions (still collecting evidences, etc.) against an Indian living in Dubai and a Pakistani living in Saudi Arabia. Both will be held responsible for extortion and may face extradition to Bulgaria, in case enough evidences are collected and accepted.

The “difficult” countries

UAE and Saudi flags

One of the most difficult countries to get a foreigner extradited from are the Gulf countries, namely:

  • United Arab Emirates;
  • Saudi Arabia;
  • Qatar;
  • Oman.

And the most frequent crimes that foreigners commit and (then) hide abroad, are:

Extradition to Bulgaria from the above 4 countries is very difficult, albeit not impossible. One of the most important factors is whether the foreigner is a citizen of the particular country. So there are basically 3 main scenarios:

The person is citizen of the particular country, ie Saudi living in Saudi Arabia

If this is the case, the extradition is virtually impossible. Unless the crime is of global magnitude with lots of international media coverage, the chances of extradition are extremely low. The countries in the Gulf region are extremely protective over their own citizens, so they will most likely never honor an extradition request to the EU for “basic” crimes.

The person is not citizen of the particular country, ie Russian residing in the UAE

In this case, the extradition is very likely to be approved. One important exception is when the person is citizen of the country that requests the extradition. In this case, the chances of successful extradition are lower. Such is the famous case of the Bulgarian billionaire Vasil Bojkov who fled to Dubai and so far all extradition requests have been denied.

The person is citizen of a “branded” country, ie Bangladeshi residing in Saudi Arabia

Citizens of certain countries, living in the Gulf, are particularly discriminated. For instance, Saudi Arabia recently issued ban on local men to marry women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad, and Myanmar. Although this move was criticized by the western democracies, it certainly shows how foreigners of certain countries are treated. Foreigners from “branded” countries living in the Gulf are usually extradited without much fuss.

If extradition to Bulgaria doesn’t work out

If you are Bulgarian and are victim of crime committed by a foreigner hiding in “uncooperative” countries – lose no hope! Even if the person is not likely to be extradited to Bulgaria, our lawyers can help you find justice. Almost always, reporting the person and his actions (criminal?) to the local authorities in the particular Gulf country will be enough. The Gulf countries are known for their zero tolerance against crime of any kind. This is especially true when it comes to foreigners living on their soil. If the person is from “branded” country, reporting him for suspected crime will have lighting effect. Zero crime tolerance comes at a price, the price the foreigners living in the Gulf are mostly paying.

If you need assistance in reporting a crime to the Bulgarian authorities and abroad, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We have very good reputation and legal connections in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and can assist you accordingly.

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