x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ministry defends revoking passports of 7 accused of security risk

Interior Ministry defends its decision to withdraw the passports of seven men it says are naturalised citizens.

ABU DHABI // The Interior Ministry yesterday defended its decision to withdraw the passports of seven men accused of posing a security threat to the country.

The ministry's lawyer, Sarah Al Shamsi, told the Federal Court that the interior minister had the power to withdraw the passports of any naturalised citizen.

"It is permitted for special reasons for a decision to be made by the minister to refuse granting the passport or renewing it. It is also permitted to withdraw the passport after it has been granted," said Ms Al Shamsi, citing article 41 from federal law number 17 for the year 1972.

In their lawsuit, the men claim the ministry's withdrawal of their passports and family books in December was illegal because they were born Emirati, rather than being naturalised citizens, as the ministry claims.

But Ms Al Shamsi told the court anyone wishing to complain about such a decision had to file a report to the Interior Minister within a month, which the men failed to do. She asked the court to reject their argument because they had not followed the required steps, and said the men should pay all court expenses.

The case file of one of the men says he complained to the interior minister on January 30.

When he heard nothing within two weeks he filed a request to the Vice President and Prime Minister on February 14, again receiving no response. He then filed the lawsuit.

The court adjourned the case until May 9.

hdajani@thenational.ae