Dubai businessman pledges $1m to rescue debtors from UAE jails

Merchant paid $40,872 for release of 132 prisoners from Ajman Central Jail
Dubai businessman pledges $1m to rescue debtors from UAE jails
Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant has pledged to spend $1 million during 2017 to help free expats who are overstaying in the jail, despite completing their terms, as they do not have money to return home.
By Staff writer
Wed 25 Jan 2017 11:04 AM

Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant has paid $40,872 (AED150,000) in money owed that led to the release 132 prisoners from Ajman Central Jail.

Merchant, chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, has pledged to spend $1 million during 2017 to help free expats who are overstaying in the jail, despite completing their terms, as they do not have money to return home.

The prisoners released from Ajman jail were from India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, Oman and Ghana.

Merchant told Arabian Business in 2015 that he has helped repatriate around 4,000 insolvent prisoners from Dubai jails paying over $952,914 (AED3.5m) since 2011.

“These people are unfortunate victims of circumstances and are not real criminals. They have ended up in jail because of debt-related cases and I want to do my best to send them back to their families,” Merchant said.

He admitted that 2016 was “challenging for a lot of people working in the UAE some of whom could not pay their debt”.

“That is why I decided to pay off their debts and get them air tickets so that they can go back to their home countries,” he added.

Only applications forwarded by jail authorities across the UAE are considered with the upper limit of default set at $8,174 (AED30,000) for cases related to rents, school fees, medical and car loan.

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