UAE President orders release of 1,511 prisoners ahead of Ramadan

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered on Wednesday the release of 1,511 prisoners ahead of the beginning of Ramadan on Thursday, according to the WAM state news agency.

Sheikh Khalifa annually pardons prisoners ahead of Ramadan, which this year is taking place under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The gesture is part of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa’s humanitarian initiatives and reflective of the values of forgiveness and tolerance to give the prisoners an opportunity to start a new chapter of their life and positively contribute to the service of their families and communities,” said WAM.

Sheikh Khalifa also pledged to settle the financial obligations of the prisoners, who were serving a variety of sentences, according to WAM.

The UAE has closed mosques and requested Muslims perform the traditionally communal Taraweeh prayers at home, in line with measures in other Muslim countries as coronavirus lockdowns prevent Muslims from celebrating Ramadan communally across the world.