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Tue 11 Jan 2011 02:06 PM

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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)

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.”

 

james A 8 years ago

a laudable gesture which should be copied by businesses who value their employees..and its an efficient way to redistribute wealth to the needy who then can remain in employment and at least have chance to pay back the debts over a longer period....well done!

Basel A-Shaban 8 years ago

This is a catch 22 situation. You lose your job, you go to jail because you are in debt, you can't find a new job because you're in jail, no one want to give you a job because you are in jail therefore, you are unable to earn money to pay off your debt. The problem gets worsen until the kind action of organizations or people step in to help. Zakat fund has helped many people in the past, I am sure these people are grateful.

Praveen Mehta 8 years ago

A Standing ovation for Mr. Merchant.

dubai don 8 years ago

this is the best thing i have seen since i came to Dubai 4 years ago! words alone can not describe this mans compassion for other human beings! he is a walking saint!!

Expat Writer 8 years ago

Whilst I think that the practice of jailing someone simply because they are unable to honour their debts through no fault of their own is barbaric, i cant help but think that as long as this practice is in place then it should be applied unilaterally from the highest echelons of the UAE down. After all you cant live in a glass house and throw stones!

aslamk 8 years ago

What a great gesture, Allah will definately reward in both the worlds. The banks should realise the difficulties in genuine conditions. Initially they send their representatives to office doors to avail loans / credi-cards etc, but when the situation becomes difficult to repay. They take the drastic steps and put the innocents behind the bars. The authorities should investigate each case carefully, before putting the person behind the bars as the main sufferers are family members.

sebastian adukanil 8 years ago

Congratulations to Pure Gold group. They have proved their purity in Gold and deeds.

SM 8 years ago

Great initiative, hope there are others who follow the same.

shankar 8 years ago

For the noble gesture from Pure Gold.. believe in the almighty.. you are bound to receive his blessings.

proud of you

Ben 8 years ago

Agree with you 300%. Mr Merchant deserves my full respect. I am happy to be able to say it.