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India businessman frees 900 prisoners in UAE as pre-Ramadan gesture

February 28, 2024 at 1:36 pm

Indian businessman and philanthropist Feroz Merchant [Delhiite_/X]

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Feroz Merchant has donated one million dirhams ($272,300) to secure the release of 900 prisoners in the Gulf state ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. In addition, he also paid their fines and airfares for their return home.

Merchant, 66, the founder and owner of Pure Gold Jewellers, paid for the prisoners’ bail charges, freeing 900 inmates since the start of 2024 as part of The Forgotten Society initiative founded in 2008.

In a statement, Merchant’s office confirmed: “Prominent Dubai-based Indian businessman and philanthropist Firoz Merchant of Pure Gold has donated close to Rs 2.25 Crores (AED 1 million) to ensure the release of 900 prisoners from jails across the Arabian nation.”

Merchant is reportedly looking to free over 3,000 prisoners this year. So far, Merchant’s initiative has helped over 20,000 prisoners over the years.

“I am very fortunate to affiliate with the government authorities. The Forgotten Society initiative is based on the premise that humanity transcends borders. We work together to provide them with the possibility to reconcile with their family in their home country and society,” Merchant was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying.

Colonel Mohammed Yusuf Al-Matrooshi, deputy director of the General Administration of Punitive and Correctional Establishments, Ajman, expressed: “So many thousands owe him a debt of gratitude.”

“What makes it so impressive is the quiet and discreet manner in which he sets about doing so much good work and providing genuine hope to those who might be languishing behind bars because they cannot pay their fines.”

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