President Sheikh Khalifa pardons more than 600 prisoners for Eid Al Adha

The country's leader will settle any outstanding debts

ABU DHABI. 23rd July 2008.Al Whaba prison scenes.FOR ARCHIVE. Stephen Lock  /  The National. *** Local Caption ***  SL-prison-018.jpgSL-prison-018.jpg
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President Sheikh Khalifa has ordered the release of 669 prisoners — serving various sentences — on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.

Sheikh Khalifa has also pledged to settle the financial obligations of the inmates.

The gesture will "provide prisoners with an opportunity to start a new life and alleviate their families' hardship", state news agency Wam reported.

Rulers of the Emirates traditionally pardon hundreds of prisoners during Ramadan and other religious holidays.

More than 4,000 prisoners were released during the Holy Month this year.

Inmates are often chosen because of their good behaviour along with those jailed for financial crimes and debts.