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GCC states agree joint police action
Manama, November 12, 2013
Fugitives wanted for crimes in one Gulf country could soon be tried in another GCC state, under new measures designed to increase regional security, a report said.
The new rules mean someone who breaks the law in another Gulf country can be arrested and prosecuted in Bahrain, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
However, the GCC country where the crime took place could still ask for the suspect to be handed over.
It could also dispatch its own police personnel to the country of arrest to assist in the investigation.
Gulf countries will also be able to request personal information of their citizens living in neighbouring GCC states.
The new rules are part of a unified GCC security convention that was approved by Bahrain's Shura Council yesterday, having been agreed by interior ministers at a meeting in Riyadh earlier this year.
However, under the agreement, GCC citizens jailed in a foreign Gulf state would be able to serve their prison sentence in their homeland.
"No-one will be forced to serve their sentences in the prison of any country they don't want to be in and the convention will give prisoners the choice between serving their term in the country where the crime has been committed or moved to a prison in their homeland," an Interior Ministry official told Shura Council members yesterday.
The council's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said the new convention would increase security across the Gulf.
"Criminals thinking they can go unpunished will be pursued under this convention in all member states," he said.
"They will be taken for trial in the country they get caught in, or could be brought home for trial depending on where the crime is committed."
He said the convention envisaged increased exchange between Gulf police forces and joint training exercises at specialised centres.
"There will be exchange between member states in bylaws and disciplinary codes, besides education and training programmes," he said. "Specialised training centres for security personnel will also be formed to provide training and education on the most advanced technologies used to combat crime."
Dr Shaikh Khalid also predicted the convention would improve border security through closer co-operation, such as the sharing of information on high-profile criminals and the names of people who have been deported.
"It will also allow member states to stop the entrance and exit of illegal workers and follow smugglers," he said.
"The convention will also allow air, sea and land ambulances to intervene in any GCC state whenever required to help provide emergency medical assistance."
Meanwhile, Shura Council legislative and legal affairs committee vice-chairwoman Rabab Al Arrayedh described the law as humane since it allowed Gulf nationals arrested in the GCC to serve prison sentences in their home country.
"Many GCC prisoners prefer serving their sentences in their homeland because it would give them visitation rights," she said.
Parliament has already approved the convention, which will be now ratified by His Majesty King Hamad. – TradeArabia News Service