Police pay blood money to free man from prison

Force's Dh200,000 releases Filipino who accidentally killed wife.

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DUBAI // Dubai Police will pay Dh200,000 blood money to secure the release from prison of a man responsible for a car accident in which his wife died.

Joseph Abutan, from the Philippines, was convicted of causing the accidental death in 2009. He was ordered to serve a year in prison and pay blood money to his wife's family.

Mr Abutan was due to be released on December 28, 2009, but remained in jail because he could not afford to pay the blood money and the family would not renounce their right to it. He converted to Islam last year.

On Sunday Mr Abutan made a TV appeal to Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Chief of Dubai Police, asking him to order the payment on humanitarian grounds. Gen Tamim issued the order yesterday.

Maj Gen Mohammed al Suwaidi, the director of correctional facilities administration at Dubai Police, said a number of prisoners in non-criminal cases spent time in prison over and above their sentences because they could not pay court-ordered fines. He would not say how many.

"Prisoners who have been convicted in civil or financial cases remain in prison until their court payments are delivered. Such humanitarian efforts by the chief are not new to Dubai police," he said.