In a pre-Ramadan gesture, Firoz Merchant, philanthropist and founder of Pure Gold Group, helped secure the release of 560 prisoners this month by clearing their debts and arranging for their air ticket home.
Of these, 300 prisoners were released from the Central Jail, Ajman, while another 260 prisoners were set free from jails across the country through an endowment made to the Faraj Fund — a relief fund set up for the welfare of inmates in correctional and penal facilities, under the aegis of the UAE Ministry of Interior.
The amount donated to free these prisoners totalled Dh650,000 ($176,944).
Merchant’s ‘Forgotten Society’ initiative that clears debts of prisoners who remain incarcerated despite completing their sentences, has enabled more than 15,000 people over the last 10 years to reunite with their families.
Merchant said: “In this ‘Year of Zayed’ designed to commemorate the memory of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, and showcase his impact and legacy, we are humbled by the privilege to serve a community that has been forgotten by society. Through this initiative we clear the financial liabilities of prisoners who have been incarcerated for money-related cases, ensure they reach their home countries and are united with their families.”
Over the past ten years, approximately 5,000 people from the Central Jail, Ajman, alone have been released due to Merchant’s philanthropic efforts.
Brigadier General Mubarak Khalfan Al Rizzi, director-general of the Punitive and Correctional Establishment of Ajman Police, said: “We are grateful to Firoz Merchant and Pure Gold Jewellers who have always been at the forefront of supporting Ajman Police in its charitable initiatives. Over the years, the company has been honoured more than once for its humanitarian efforts and we hope that more private organisations such as Pure Gold would come forward to support people in need.”
Brig Gen Al Rizzi added that the Forgotten Society initiative includes prisoners of all nationalities — those freed this month were from 26 different nationalities.
The second phase of the initiative will be held during Ramadan when Ajman Police will prepare the next batch of prisoners who have completed their prison terms and need support to travel back to their home countries. Merchant hopes to assist in freeing over 1,000 prisoners from the Central Jail, Ajman, in addition to those who will be released through the Faraj Fund.
Over the years, Merchant’s philanthropic initiatives have seen over Dh20 million ($5,445 000) donated for various causes.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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