Sheikh Khalifa pardons hundreds of prisoners for National Day

UAE President pays off their debts so inmates can return to society

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President Sheikh Khalifa ordered the release of more than 600 prisoners on Tuesday, ahead of the country's 49th National Day.

The Ruler of Abu Dhabi also cleared the debts of the 628 inmates, who were jailed for various crimes.

The Rulers of the Emirates traditionally pardon hundreds of prisoners during national holidays, including Ramadan and Eid.

Ahead of Eid Al Adha in July, Sheikh Khalifa pardoned more than 500 inmates and paid off their debts. He ordered the release of a further 1,500 prisoners during Ramadan.

Those freed are often serving sentences for financial crimes and are chosen because of their good behaviour.

The Ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, ordered the release of 49 prisoners on the occasion of National Day.

Sheikh Humaid wanted to give the pardoned inmates the chance to start a new life and ease the suffering of their families.

National Day in the UAE is celebrated on December 2 each year. It marks the day the emirates banded together at Union House – now Etihad Museum – to form the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, was the country’s first president.

Public and private-sector workers will get a three-day break from December 1 to 3 to mark two important occasions: Commemoration Day and the country's 49th National Day.