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Sat 30 Aug 2008 10:22 AM

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Sheikh Mohammed releases 777 prisoners

Ruler of Dubai marks beginning of holy month of Ramadan by pardoning inmates.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, has granted 777 Dubai inmates their freedom.

Sheikh Mohammed, also ruler of Dubai, pardoned the prisoners to mark the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM on Saturday.

The prisoners, both UAE citizens and expatriates, have served various parts of their terms in Dubai jails, and will soon be released, enabling them to join their families in the month of fasting, the statement said.

Esam Eisa Al Humaidan, Dubai attorney general, said the public prosecution has started coordinating with the Dubai Police to implement the order as soon as possible.

He described the release as a "gesture of benevolence, which gives the prisoners the opportunity to return to their families and integrate with the society again to start a new life".

The move follows the order of the release of 700 Emirati and expat prisoners from prisons across the UAE on Wednesday by UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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