It is not a crime punishable with a fine if an expatriate does not carry with him his Qatar identity (ID) card, a senior official from the Ministry of Interior has clarified.
However, if one refuses to produce any identification document (ID or passport) despite the insistence of a law-enforcement official, he would be taken to task.
He would be referred to the court at the ministry’s Search and Follow-Up Department (SFD) through the department’s prosecution. The court can impose a fine of up to QR10,000 on such a person. That is the maximum fine, but if he admits his mistake with the Prosecution, he could walk away with a “reconciliatory” fine of QR1,000.
And even if the erring person is referred to the SFD court by the Prosecution, the court could impose a fine of just QR1,000. “It is the court’s discretion.”
The Director of the SFD, Brigadier Nasser Mohamed Eisa Al Sayed, told The Peninsula yesterday that sleuths from his department always demand ID from suspects.
For example, someone driving late in the night can be stopped by the SFD personnel and asked to produce his identification.
In situations where someone is unable to produce ID or passport, one would be held back until one proves who he is. “Once you prove who you are, you can walk away.”
Asked what happens to people who go on long walks or jog or do some sporting activity and leave their IDs behind in their cars, Al Sayed said: “ID is always demanded from suspects, not from such people”.
The official said sections of the local media have carried misleading reports, creating confusion on the ID issue. “What they have reported is not true.”
The reports that went viral on the local social media were based on an interface of the Interior Ministry with representatives of expatriate communities on Sunday. Many people found it surprising that such a huge fine could be imposed for not carrying one’s ID.
Al Sayed reiterated: “You are committing a crime only when you refuse to produce any identification document on the insistence of a law-enforcement official. Just not carrying your ID isn’t an offence punishable with a fine.”
Talking about passports of expatriates, the SFD Director said that legally the employee should keep it with him. Many companies and personal sponsors prefer to keep the passports of their expatriate employees. This is to avoid complications like delay in getting an employee’s residence permit (RP) renewed in time because it is a sponsor’s responsibility.
“Workers sometimes forget to renew their RPs if they have their passports with them,” said Al Sayed.
However, if a worker asks for his passport from his employer, he must give it to him. “If he refuses, the worker can approach the SFD and file a formal complaint. Action would be taken against the sponsor because he doesn’t have the right to refuse to part with an employee’s passport”.
About the ministry’s meeting (seminar on issues like community policing and visa and related issues) with the expatriate communities, Al Sayed said he didn’t attend it. “I wasn’t there but sections of the print media have even used my file picture with the misleading report about the ID issue, while the presentation was actually made by a colleague.”
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