x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Khalifa orders release of 873 prisoners to mark Ramadan

More than 800 prisoners have been pardoned for their financial crimes as part of a Presidential order.

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has ordered the release of 873 prisoners to mark Ramadan.

The President will also pay off the liabilities and debts of the prisoners, who were involved in various financial cases, says Wam, the state news agency.

The pardon aims to give Emirati and expatriates a second chance and reunite them with their families.

The move is part of a series of gestures by Sheikh Khalifa to help offenders start a new life. Last year, more than 400 inmates of different nationalities were pardoned.

Release is granted for humanitarian reasons, but other factors considered include the nature of the crime, the length of the sentence and jail term served, and the behaviour of the prisoner.

In May, more than Dh500 million of debt owed by 368 Emiratis was cleared in the second phase of a scheme to help debtors on low incomes.

The debts are settled from a Dh10billion fund set up on National Day last year, on the recommendation of a committee headed by Ahmed Jumaa Al Zaabi, the deputy minister of presidential affairs.

Beneficiaries must be employed and pay up to 25 per cent of their monthly salary in interest-free, long-term repayments.