x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Anonymous benefactor pays Dh1m to free at least 20 prisoners

An anonymous benefactor has donated Dh1 million to get financial crimes prisoners out of jail, police say.

DUBAI // A Dh1 million donation by an anonymous benefactor has freed more than 20 prisoners jailed for unpaid debts.

The released expatriate debtors also had their flight tickets home paid for by the unnamed Emirati, who made the donation at the beginning of Ramadan.

"We have a lot of prisoners in financial cases who have no means of paying the debts off, and this amount helped to release many people, who are Emirati and non-Emirati, and who come from all religions, to be released," said Maj Gen Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the director of Dubai Police Prisons and Correctional Facilities.

"The Emiratis were able to spend the holy month with their families and the non-Emiratis were able to return home, as their tickets were also paid for."

The benefactor reviewed the prisoners' cases and chose those he wanted to help. Of the Dh1m donation, Dh600,000 has been used so far. One of those released was an Emirati public employee who had been given three months' leave by his employer to settle debts of Dh100,000. The payment not only freed him from prison, but also secured his job.

"Many people who are jailed in civil or criminal financial cases are not able to secure payments for release. A gesture like this during the holy month of Ramadan reflects the humanitarian side of the society that is reaching out to help," Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said.

A Humanitarian Services Committee set up by Dubai Police Prisons and Correctional Facilities has helped many prisoners with their problems. "The public can contact the committee on 04 213 8888 to extend financial or material help for the prisoners in need," Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said.

More than Dh1m was donated to the committee last year.

"People have donated these sums in good faith to mostly help in the release of prisoners who are incarcerated for their inability to pay court-ordered fines or money," said Maj Marwan Julphar, of the Prisons Security Department. "Such efforts raise the spirits of the prisoners and guide them to return to society as reformed persons."

amustafa@thenational.ae