ABU DHABI //Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, yesterday ordered the release of 724 prisoners ahead of Ramadan and settled their debts. Clemency was granted to 426 inmates in Abu Dhabi and 298 in other prisons across the country, the state news agency WAM reported. The inmates - Emirati and expatriate - had been serving jail terms for various crimes.
Sheikh Khalifa pledged to settle all the prisoners' debts and financial commitments resulting from their court cases. The UAE Government grants pardons to a large number of prisoners during Ramadan every year. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, pardoned 595 prisoners to mark the start of Ramadan, 62 of whom were Emiratis. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman, pardoned 58 prisoners and Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras al Khaimah, ordered the release of 84 prisoners.
Pardons are granted for humanitarian reasons, but other factors are 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 National