A 'citizen' turns non-Saudi after 27-year stay in Syria

Kareem Al-Kuaikbi Al-Ruwali

Saudi Gazette report

AL-JOUF — Kareem Al-Kuaikbi Al-Ruwali is going through difficult times these days because he could not obtain documents to prove his Saudi nationality. He told Al-Hayat newspaper that he returned to the Kingdom seven years ago after living for 27 years in Syria as a Saudi citizen.

He said he entered the Kingdom via Jordan coming from Syria where he was unable to renew his Saudi identity papers.

He said he lived in Syria all these long years using an old Saudi passport which he was not able to renew.

Ruwaili said he submitted his papers to the Civil Affairs department in Al-Qurrayat, then Al-Jouf and finally Riyadh without anything done to prove that he was Saudi national.

"My papers are still suspended and I am still not considered a Saudi citizen," he said.

Ruwaili is now living in Riyadh while his family of 11 is staying in Jordan and cannot enter the Kingdom.

"My family is living a tragic situation because they have no identity papers," he said.

He explained that he had an old Saudi ID card and an old Saudi passport which both had expired long time ago but he could not renew them.

He also said he had a photocopy of a receipt from the Saudi Real Estate Development Fund that he had obtained a loan from the fund, a deed of a house he built in Al-Qurayat, a photocopy of a commercial registration and a paper authenticated by the tribe chief affirming that he was a Saudi.

"There are 37 citizens who can attest that I am a Saudi and a paper from the Syrian Interior Ministry showing that I was not a Syrian citizen but a Saudi national," he said.

"Can it be possible that I have obtained the Saudi nationality illegally then I entered the Kingdom to follow up my office papers?" he questioned.

Ruwaili, who is 70 years old, has suffered a number of strokes and various illnesses in addition to myopia. He demanded an investigation committee to question if he was not a Saudi citizen.

He said he suffered a lot during he past two years in Syria but was able to finally enter the Kingdom.

He said he was not able to enter the Kingdom during all the past long years because Saudi embassies in Damascus, Beirut and Amman refused to give him travel documents.

Ruwaili said he attempted to travel from Syria to the Kingdom some years back but his attempts were foiled when he received a letter from the Saudi Embassy in Beirut informing him that he was not Saudi and that his papers were forged.

He said he was able to exit Syria to Jordan about seven years ago with some of his children while the rest of the family stayed back in Syria.

Ruwaili said he entered the Kingdom through Al-Hidaitha border point where they confiscated his old passport and gave him a paper stating the date of his entry and asked him to come to them later.

He said he went to the Al-Qurayat Civil Affairs department but they told him that his file was in Sikaka.

Mohammed Al-Jassir, spokesman of the Civil Affairs office in Madinah, said there were office papers concerning him but that he had obtained his identity card illegally.

"The concerned departments are currently investigating his case," he added.