x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Man in prison after term ends will go home soon

Man's five-year jail term expired last month, but a lack of travel documents meant he could not be deported.

DUBAI // A Sri Lankan man stuck in jail because of a lack of travel documents, even though his sentence has expired, will soon be going home, his consulate said.

"The matter has been referred to us and we are trying to issue travel documents for the man so that he can be sent back," said the Sri Lankan consul general, Abdul Raheem. "He will leave the country as soon as possible."

The man, identified as Sampath, was in jail for financial offences. His five-year sentence expired last month and he was due to be deported, but the lack of papers stopped him leaving the country.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police have said they are also helping a number of other people in the same circumstances to return home.

Officials are contacting consulates and charitable organisations to arrange plane tickets and passports.

"Some have lost their passports and don't even have a photo-copy," said Capt Faisal Al Shehi from the humanitarian care division of the Dubai Central Prison in Al Awir. We tried to support such people. They do not have money or relatives or friends who can help them.

"Most of them are illegal workers whose visa is expired or who ran away from their sponsors."

More than 140 prisoners were helped with air tickets home between January and April this year, said Capt Al Shehi.

"People can contact us if they want to help prisoners to return home," he said.

Those who want to help can call police on (04) 2138888, (04) 2138060 or (04) 2138665.

frahman@thenational.ae