In a gesture that would give hope to hundreds of destitute families, Pure Gold Jewellers and Al Faraj Relief Fund have joined hands to repatriate around 1,500 insolvent prisoners from various jails of the UAE.
The agreement would allow repatriation of 50 inmates per month who are stuck up behind bars due to their inability to pay up their debts, which runs up to Dh40,000 per person on an average, Gulf Today reported.
Around 600 prisoners will benefit from this scheme in the first year, while more would see daylight in the next year.
According to the agreement, the jewellery retailer will pay for the air tickets of the released prisoners apart from paying off their debts on a case-to-case basis and as per the approval of the Al Faraj Relief Fund.
This month 150 prisoners from UAE jails in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Sharjah were freed and their debts as well air ticket fares were paid so that they could return to their home countries.
In the last three months, the retailer has managed to release 700 prisoners from various jails in the UAE.
Al Faraj Relief Fund for the Welfare of Inmates of Correctional and Punitive Facilities, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Interior, was set up to enhance the level of care and services delivered to the inmates.
Shedding light on the initiative Firoz Merchant, chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, said: “Apart from the tie up with Al Faraj Relief Fund we will also continue to assist other corrective institutions in the Emirates in the settlement of debt and repatriation of insolvent prisoners. We aim to assist a total of 1,500 insolvent prisoners in the period of one year.”
He added: “For most insolvent prisoners, a debt problem will get worse whilst they are in prison as they do not have the means to pay it off. In many cases, their families also get into debt if the main bread earner is in prison. I have been touched by their stories and the unfortunate situation of their families and so we launched an initiative this year to help them start a new life and join their families back home. With the new agreement with Al Faraj Relief Fund, we will now be able to do this every month on a regular basis. I hope this will give them a second chance at life.”