Ten prisoners freed after firm gives AED1m to pay off debts

Pakistani, Emirati, Egyptian prisoners freed after Dubai jeweller donates cash to charity
Ten prisoners freed after firm gives AED1m to pay off debts
The ten were jailed after failing to keep up with their debt repayments after losing their jobs. (For illustration purposes only)
By Joanne Bladd
Tue 11 Jan 2011 02:06 PM

Ten
prisoners jailed in the UAE for debt fraud have been freed after a jewellery
firm pledged AED1m (around $272,000) to pay off their loans.

The
donation to the Zakat Fund Abu Dhabi, made by Pure Gold Jewellers, enabled the release
of three Pakistanis, three Egyptians, two Jordanians, a Syrian and an Emirati.

The
debts owed by the ten ranged from AED3,000 to more than AED40,000.

The
men were unable to pay back the money owed after losing their jobs, said Firoz
G Merchant, chairman of the company.

“They
all have families who depend on them for a living and being in prison it
becomes even more difficult for them to pay back their debts as they are not in
employment,” he said, adding he was keen to see the ten reunited with their
families.

“It
is part of our social responsibility to help those in dire circumstances.”

One
of the released men, who was not named, said: “I can’t express how happy I am
for being released from prison. I was jailed because of a debt that I was
unable to pay back.

“I
can’t imagine what would have happened to my family if I had stayed in prison
especially since they depend on me financially.”

Jamal
Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the head of Zakat sources and media department at the Zakat
Fund Abu Dhabi, said the story was all too common.

 “Many people unfortunately fall into debt when
they lose their jobs and have nowhere to turn for help,” he said. “As a result,
they languish in jail with no hope for release and their families refuse to
leave hope.

“We
hope many others will come forward to meet their Zakat obligations and help
those who are desperately in need.”

 

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