Dubai: Businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant will contribute to the release of 600 insolvent prisoners in the UAE in a gesture to mark the Holy Month of Ramadan. Merchant, who is the founder chairman of the Pure Gold jewellery group, will also help to secure the release of 400 more prisoners by the year end. The total contribution, aimed at giving prisoners a second chance in life, amounts to Dh1.5 million.
As many as 180 prisoners from Ajman Central Jail and 200 from Sharjah Central Jail are due to be released soon. Many others will be released from Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah prisons.
Merchant said, “Ramadan is a month for giving blessings and sharing in the sorrows of others to give them strength and help, to lead a happy, peaceful and prosperous life in this beautiful world. During the holy month, we devote our attention to prisoners in the UAE who are jailed for insolvency. They ended up in prison because they were unable to pay back their debts due to unfortunate circumstances. We extend our support to government authorities and the director generals of police to release insolvent prisoners, irrespective of their nationality and religion, by providing for their air fare to exit the country so that they can be reunited with their families and celebrate the holy month of Ramadan together.”
The priosoners belong to different nationalities including Afghan, Bangladeshi, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Filipino, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, Nigerian, Pakistani, Palestinian, Somalian, Sri Lankan, Sudani and Syrian.
This is not the first time Pure Gold Jewellers has come to the rescue of debt-laden prisoners. Its ‘Forgotten Society’ initiative, which was launched in 2008 to help insolvent prisoners, has reunited thousands of prisoners with their families.