Indian businessman in UAE to pay for expat prisoners’ tickets

This post was originally published on 23 May 2017.

A Dubai-based Indian businessman has come to their rescue of debt-ridden expat prisoners in UAE by pledging to donate AED 480,000 a year to fund the return tickets.

The Indian billionaire, Firoz Merchant, founder and chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UAE’s Faraj Fund, a charity that is devoted for the welfare of inmates.

Faraj Fund was established in 2009 by the UAE Ministry of Social Affairs to give priority assistance to indigent inmates and their families.

“We will donate AED 40,000 every month to the fund as part of the ‘Year of Giving’ and this will help pay for air tickets of released prisoners, irrespective of their nationality or religion,” a company spokesperson told Arabian Business.

“These prisoners are victims of circumstances and are not real criminals. They are in jail because of debt,” Merchant reportedly told local media.

“In unison with the Year of Giving initiative, we are working with the prison and law enforcement authorities to help insolvent prisoners; as well as members of the police force who work hard to ensure we continue to live in a secure and happy community,” he added.

In January this year, Merchant revealed that he is “more than willing” to spend over the pledged $1 million (AED 3.67 million) to free expats who are in UAE jails over debts owed.

Under the humanitarian initiative, which he started in 2008, Merchant has donated over $4 million (AED 14.68 million) to date.

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