The Ministry of Interior is facing challenges due to the overcrowding of deportees in detention centers as the contract with the ticketing company has expired, an Arab daily reported. The increase in the number of expatriates arrested and sent to detention centers currently reached approximately 3,500, and these violators are unable to exit the country due to the mentioned issue with the booking of their tickets.

Sources confirmed that the contract has expired since mid-August, and its renewal is still being processed and awaiting approval in the financial department at the Ministry of Interior, noting that the deportation department no longer receives any deportees without an accompanying ticket. In addition, the continuous security campaigns have led to an increase in the number of violators taken to the security departments.

Moreover, the number of detainees currently in the deportation cell is about 1,300, while it increases to about 1,500  if the security directorates and police stations are also counted as well as about 400 in the residence investigations departments. Meanwhile, approximately 200 detainees are being held in criminal investigations, and about 100 in the Drug Enforcement Administration. The source pointed out that all detainees were issued deportation decisions, but their departure was delayed because the company is the one that holds the tickets for the detainees and then collect the amounts from the sponsors, and in the absence of the contract it is not possible to secure tickets for them, with the exception of those who can pay the ticket value themselves.

The source also added that the number of detainees being held in detention centers requires an additional budget, in terms of supplies of food, water, medical care, and others, pointing out that the approach currently used is to let deportees leave if they can pay the value of the air ticket, while those who cannot pay are waiting in prison until the signing of the contract with the ticketing company is completed. The source also said that in the past, when the contract was in force, the arrested violators were deported immediately and the sponsor was obliged to pay the ticket value, or block them from completing any transactions with government agencies.

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