Khalifa frees 700 inmates

Hundreds of inmates will be freed early from federal prisons following a royal decree ordering their release and the settling of their debts.

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Hundreds of inmates will be freed early from federal prisons following a royal decree ordering their release and the settling of their debts. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, yesterday ordered the executive pardon of the 700 prisoners four days before the start of Ramadan. Hundreds more prisoners were expected to be pardoned by the rulers of the various emirates.

Clemency was granted after federal prison wardens drew up a list of eligible inmates, which was then submitted to the attorney general's office for review. Pardons are granted for humanitarian reasons, but other factors taken into consideration, include the nature of the crime, the length of the sentence, how much of a jail term has been served and the behaviour of the prisoner while in jail. Faith and nationality are not usually taken into account.

The move is in line with Sheikh Khalifa's desire to promote tolerance in the UAE and his belief that people should be given a second chance and that their families deserve relief from their suffering. @email:ealghalib@thenational.ae * With reporting by WAM