Humanitarian Gesture of the Gracious Leadership

  • 25 January 2011

The decision of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to release 391 prisoners (citizens and expatriates) from Abu Dhabi prisons and to pay off the debts of those detained in financial cases is a sublime humanitarian gesture by the wise leadership, whose decisions always promote an atmosphere of happiness, confidence and optimism in the hearts and minds of citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates—given that this is not the first time that the President His Highness has taken such a noble initiative, especially when it comes to the humanitarian approach that distinguishes His Highness’s decisions, policies and directives, locally and internationally.

The release of such a large number of prisoners gives them new opportunity to help themselves and their community, completely different from the behavior that put them behind bars in the first place. This release shows the compassion of His Highness toward the prisoners’ families, and manifests his keen interest toward alleviating their suffering, thereby according stability for family and society, which represents a major goal of development policy in the UAE. Moreover, as indicated by the Acting Attorney General in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, this gesture sends an important message to other prisoners; as it would encourage them to take advantage of a possible opportunity offered to them by correctional facilities where they serve their sentences to get engaged in the rehabilitation and training process in order to attain such pardon in the future.

The decision to pardon 391 prisoners in Abu Dhabi prisons reflects the UAE leadership’s wise view of prisons as correctional institutions in the first place providing prisoners with the opportunity to rehabilitate and start a new life after their release. Therefore, the state takes great interest in providing prisoners an honorable life in prison; not exposing them to any kind of humiliation or abuse; opening the doors of education for them inside the prison through various educational institutions; pardoning some of them on different occasions; and preparing them to get the chance to be pardoned by achieving progress in education, training, rehabilitation, etc.

While the UAE shows firmness in enforcing laws against wrongdoers and criminals without any discrimination in order to establish security, integrity and stability of society, it is equally keen on taking care of prisoners as individuals who have deviated from the right path, but who can come back as beneficial members of the society if they are well-educated and rehabilitated under humane treatment, and if they are granted the opportunity to change, turn page on the past and look forward to the future. This position is inspired by the conviction of the wise leadership that man is the most precious component of development. Hence, there is a need to protect and safeguard individuals in the face of deviation and wrongdoing, and help them in remaining agents of their own development and the development of the whole society.