Police in Dubai have released 21 prisoners after two philanthropists donated nearly Dh2m to help pay off their debts.
The money was given to mark the holy month of Ramadan and allowed officers to assist individuals serving jail terms for financial cases.
Brig Gen Ali Mohammed Al Shamali, director-general of Dubai’s prisons, said the first donor had given Dh1.08m, facilitating the release of four inmates.
He said a second donor had contributed more than Dh916,000, helping settle the debts of a further 17 inmates.
Among one of the prisoners released was an Asian man who left the UAE in 1998 but was later arrested on a transit flight through Dubai.
“He had a credit card issued in his name before he left the country which accumulated interest rates he was not aware of,” said First Lieutenant Habeeb Al Zarouni, of Dubai Police.
“When he was arrested he was told he had to pay Dh50,000.”
Earlier this month, Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the UAE, ordered the release of more than 3,000 prisoners ahead of Ramadan.
He also pledged to settle the debts of the inmates, allowing them and their families the chance of a fresh start.
Sheikh Khalifa traditionally announces the release of hundreds of prisoners at this time of year. Last year, close to 1,000 men and women, jailed for a variety of offences, were also pardoned.