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Kuwait deports 503 for traffic violations

Decision sparks debate over merit of penalties

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait has deported 503 people for committing serious traffic violations. Offences included jumping red lights, reckless driving, using private vehicles to carry passengers illegally, and driving without a proper licence. Five of the deportees were from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, a security source told local daily Al Watan.

The deportation was part of a campaign launched by the authorities to exert greater control over traffic flow, besides instilling a more positive driving culture and to improve road safety in the country.

The campaign has evoked both warm support and sharp criticism in the local community and the blogosphere was awash with arguments from all sides. Those who endorsed the move said that it would help make the roads safer for all and would ensure that foreigners acted within the confines of the law. However, others argued that it was a measure targeting a vulnerable segment of residents.

Abdul Rahman Al Ganem, the head of the expatriate manpower office at the Kuwait Labour Union, said that those who violated traffic laws should either be fined or have their licences revoked. But the former lawmaker held the view that deportation as a punishment for traffic offences “had great economic and social effects” and clashed with the basics of human rights.