Traveler Jailed for Flying with Lost Passport

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A Syrian traveler ended up in hot water at Dublin Airport, Ireland, all because he flew in with a lost passport. The poor guy, Ramzi Maruan (31), was hoping for a fresh start in Ireland but got himself into a pickle instead. According to the Irish Examiner on Monday (26/2/2024), before landing in Ireland, he made pit stops in Iceland and Bulgaria to seek international protection. But now, he’s looking at a two-month stint behind bars.

Judge Treasa Kelly figured Maruan must have had some ID or a passport when he hopped on that plane in Luxembourg. But somewhere along the way, it vanished into thin air. And believe it or not, he’s not the first one to pull a stunt like this.

“The system needs a shake-up; you can’t just waltz into this country without proper ID, even if you had it and misplaced it,” the judge remarked. Maruan owned up to his mistake on Saturday, admitting he broke immigration laws. And get this, before him, two other folks from Albania and Somalia found themselves in a similar pickle, getting the boot by Judge Kelly over the weekend.

The National Immigration Bureau (NIB) nabbed Maruan at Terminal 2 on Friday night, but he clammed up when they grilled him about his missing passport upon arrival. Now, he’s staring down the barrel of a 12-month jail sentence.

Dublin Airport’s seen its fair share of these cases lately. Just a while back, they busted 37 other travelers pulling similar stunts. Maruan’s lawyer, Edward Bradbury, spilled the beans, saying he’s had clients in the same boat until a couple of weeks ago, all going through the asylum process.

But Maruan, who’s also seeking asylum, found himself in the hot seat this time, according to Bradbury. Sure, he lost his passport, but he’s sticking to his guns, pleading not guilty. The judge listened in, taking note of Maruan’s claim that he must have misplaced it somewhere between Luxembourg and Dublin.

The defense admitted the court was in a tight spot since the law allows defendants to plead guilty on the first go. Bradbury explained Maruan’s just trying to make a better life for himself, and now he’s being treated like a criminal for seeking asylum.

During the trial’s break, NIB dug up some dirt, finding out Maruan had made a pit stop in Bulgaria before making his way to Ireland via Iceland. The defense also got lawyer Kevin McCrave on the case, making sure the judge knew Maruan was the first among GNIB’s recent airport arrests to agree to a fingerprinting.

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