Sharjah Ruler orders to release prisoners involved in non-criminal offences

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has announced an amnesty for prisoners serving sentences in Sharjah jails in financial and non-criminal cases.

“Indian nationals and others serving prison terms in Sharjah for non-serious crimes would be released,” he announced during a public event in India.

Dr Shaikh Sultan, who is currently visiting Kerala, was responding to a request by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that several Keralites are in jail in Sharjah in labour-related and visa cases and should be released so that they can return home.

Al Qasimi, deviating from his prepared speech, said there were people in Sharjah jails who were not only from Kerala, but from many other countries.

“Those who have not committed serious crimes, but indulged in minor offences like quarrels, will all be released,” he said.

According to media reports, the amnesty applies to 149 Indian prisoners who have completed three years of their sentences.

Dr Shaikh Sultan will also pay off their debts amounting to Dh20 million, Gulf News reported. However, prisoners involved in criminal cases will not be released.

The free prisoners would be rehabilitated in Sharjah itself and need not return to their homes, he said.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Dr Shaikh Sultan for pardoning Indian prisoners. “We thank His Highness the Emir of Sharjah for this kind gesture,” Sushma said in a tweet.

University confers Doctorate to Sharjah ruler

The Sharjah Ruler made this announcement after accepting an honorary doctorate conferred on him by the University of Calicut at a function held at the official residence of Kerala Governor Justice (Rtd) P. Sathasivam.

The honorary doctorate was conferred on Dr Shaikh Sultan in recognition of his role in the fields of culture and arts, in addition to the attention he gives in establishing distinguished research centres and educational institutions.

More cooperation between Sharjah and Kerala

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Shaikh Sultan said that areas of cooperation between Sharjah and Kerala have witnessed a tangible and clear growth during the past six decades, which resulted in mutual contributions between project managers, professionals and businesspersons.

He pointed out that he appreciates such contributions and encourages their continued growth. He added that he particularly supports efforts for cooperation in the industrial and services sectors, which can benefit from the competitive advantages of resources shared by both nations.

Dr Shaikh Sultan said: “We are very grateful for your warm reception and hospitality, and we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and wishes to the University of Calicut, and the people and government of Kerala.”

Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, thanked Dr Shaikh Sultan for his efforts to strengthen cooperation between Kerala and Sharjah, and hailed his achievements in the field of culture and education.

On Monday, Dr Shaikh Sultan attended a cultural folklore celebration on Kerala’s artistic and literary heritage.

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