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Firoz Merchant buys freedom for prisoners in UAE before Ramazan

Malick Asghar Hashmi/New Delhi

Mumbai-born Firoz Merchant is well known for his jewelry business and above all human service in the UAE. Each year before Ramazan, he gets prisoners who are languishing in jails after serving their terms but unable to pay the fines imposed by the Courts on them freed from the UAE’s jails.

For this mission, he set up an organization called ‘The Forgotten Society’ in 2008. As per the society’s policy, a week ago Firoz Merchant handed over Rs 2.5 crore to the UAE government as the cumulative fine amount for the release of 900 prisoners.

Merchant had to drop out of school due to financial difficulties and he moved to UAE where he worked and gradually established his business.

Firoz Merchant says he does this to ensure that the prisoners can return to their homes before Ramazan. ‘The Forgotten Society’ arranges tickets for the air travel of prisoners. Firoz Merchant, 66, is the owner ‘Pure Gold Jewellers which he set up in Dubai in 1989. He claims to live up to the name of his business and sell only quality jewelry to his customers.

Firoz Merchant says after becoming a brand and enjoying a monopoly on the jewelry market of Dubai and later Abu Dhabi, he wants to expand globally with his new design jewelry. 

Firoz Merchant being falicitated by Police for his services

All the exquisite gold-diamond designer jewelry of ‘Pure Gold Jewellers’ is available for sale online. 

While selling designer jewelry, one day Firoz Merchant thought of ​​freeing the prisoners lodged in various jails who don’t have a relative and resources to pay the fine imposed on them by the court as part of the punishment.

His organization also helps prisoners through various means.

Due to their efforts, 700 prisoners were released in 2019. This year, 900 prisoners were released a week ago. His initiative has helped more than 20,000 prisoners in the last few years. This year, he donated 1 million dirhams, or about Rs 2.5 crore, to the UAE government to get 900 prisoners released.

He says his target is to get 3,000 prisoners released in 2024. According to Firoz Merchant’s office, this is a message of humility, humanity, forgiveness, and kindness ahead of Ramazan. The Forgotten Society is busy organizing facilities and passage to home for the just-released prisoners.

Due to the efforts of Firoz Merchant, so far 495 prisoners have been released from Ajman jail, 170 from Fujairah, 121 from Dubai, 69 from Umm Al Quwain, and 28 from Ras Al Khaimah jail. He even paid off the debts of a few individuals.

Firoz Merchant with local police in Dubai

Merchant, in collaboration with the Director Generals of Police of the central prisons of the UAE, has helped more than 20,000 prisoners over the years. His work is also getting praise from government officials.

Merchant said, “I am grateful for the cooperation of the (UAE) government. Forgotten Society believes that humanity has no limits. We do not discriminate in providing help to prisoners.”

Colonel Mohammed Youssef Al-Matrooshi of the UAE praised Merchant’s dedication to prisoner rehabilitation. According to the Colonel “Merchant’s quiet generosity provides real hope to those struggling to pay their fines.”

Firoz Merchant had paid 272,242 dollars to the UAE for the release of 700 prisoners in 2019. He said his “move is in line with the tolerance of the UAE.”

Merchants helped free prisoners from Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, and Thailand. 

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Major General Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Commander-in-Chief of Ajman Police, said that the release of the prisoners is a symbol of the solidarity of Pure Gold.

 

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