Thirty-two Filipina prisoners in Fujairah have been pardoned by the emirate's Ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed, to mark Ramadan. Most of them were jailed for theft, adultery and immigration offences, according to Ahmed Bajunaid, head of the assistance to nationals section at the Philippine consulate in Dubai. Twenty-one of the prisoners returned to the Philippines this week, and the rest were waiting for relatives or friends to purchase tickets to Manila.
The UAE Government grants pardons to a large number of prisoners during Ramadan every year. Clemencies are also granted on other occasions, including Eid al Fitr, Eid al Adha and the UAE National Day. Among other recent pardons: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, pardoned 595 prisoners to mark the start of Ramadan, 62 of whom were Emiratis, the state news agency, WAM, reported.
Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman, pardoned 58 prisoners. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, the Crown Prince of Ras al Khaimah, pardoned 84 prisoners. The release of the 32 prisoners in Fujairah followed the Philippine consulate's official request before Ramadan for the pardon of Filipino inmates in Dubai and the northern Emirates. The consulate appealed for clemency for 20 Filipinos, mostly men, who were convicted of murder, drug crimes, and debt-related cases in Dubai, Mr Bajunaid said. It also sought clemency for 30-40 Filipino prisoners in Sharjah. Most were detained for immigration offences.
It is not clear whether the 32 women released in Fujairah were included in the consulate's request. "It is incumbent upon the embassies and consulates to appeal for clemency, but it is up to the Diwan (Ruler's Court) to grant it," said Agnes Cervantes, the Department of Foreign Affairs executive director for migrant workers affairs in Manila. The pardons are granted for humanitarian reasons, but other factors taken into consideration include the nature of the crime, the length of the sentence, how much of a jail term has been served and the behaviour of the prisoner while in jail. Faith and nationality are not usually taken into account.
Ms Cervantes said embassies and consulates periodically send a list of all detained Filipinos. firstname.lastname@example.org