100 US Citizens Stuck in Kuwait

Military contractors barred from leaving base after contract dispute
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2013 6:30 AM CDT
100 US Citizens Stuck in Kuwait
US soldiers in Kuwait.   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Well this is one way to handle a corporate dispute. US military translation contractor Global Linguist Solutions ended its contract with its sponsoring Kuwaiti subcontractor, Al Shora, in February. So Al Shora—which just happens to be run by the Kuwaiti prime minister's sister-in-law, sources tell Fox News—refused to transfer the visas of GLS's US translators to a new subcontractor and told authorities they had violated their visas by not showing up to work. Now around 100 US citizens are stuck inside two US Army bases in Kuwait, with warrants out for their arrests and their names blacklisted for deportation, Stars and Stripes reports. And Al Shora wants $22 million to transfer the visas, reports Fox.

"If we leave the base, we could be arrested by the Kuwaiti authorities, jailed, or deported," says one American stuck at Camp Buehring. "We cannot see the doctor even for an emergency ... A lot of us here need to go home. Our families are worried about us. We need to see our kids." But GLS has banned its workers from leaving the bases since May 31 to safeguard them; of three who were caught beyond a base earlier that month, two were jailed for a week and one was deported. Both the US Army and State Department say they can't do anything to stop arrests or deportations. The Kuwaiti government denies any knowledge of the situation. "It comes back to us being fugitives," another translator at Camp Buehring tells Stars and Stripes. "That’s our status in the state of Kuwait." (Read more Kuwait stories.)

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