OLA to help free citizens in prisons for financial crimes

May 16, 2017

Loan defaulters serving sentences in prisons can hope to be free, thanks to an ongoing campaign launched by the Omani Lawyers Association (OLA). Titled, Fak Kurbah (redeeming anguish), the campaign has been appreciated by several individuals and companies who are keen to donate for the cause especially during Ramadan.

“The idea of the project is to reduce the sufferings of those behind the bars because of financial difficulties. Our campaign has nothing to do with those who commit crimes but those who are in prisons because of cases related to financial problems especially those who are in debts,” Sumaiya al Balushi, a member of OLA told Muscat Daily.

After considering the humanitarian angle and its priority, Sumaiya said the association will pay maximum RO5,000 per case. “We have to make sure that the recipient has only one case to settle. The aim is to help those who can’t pay their debts due to financial reasons.”

The campaign which is slated to last through the month of Ramadan has managed to free more than 700 prisoners since 2012. “This is our fourth campaign since 2012. The second one was in 2014 and the third in 2015. In 2015, we managed to secure the release of 432 prisoners and this year we expect more than that,” she said.

“We normally approach different companies and associations for funds. I am happy to say that this year the response has been good and some companies have approached us directly. We call on individuals and establishments to come forward and donate for this noble cause,” she said. Sumaiya said the association will scrutinise the list first.

“OLA will ask legal department in the governorates that we are focusing on to recommend a list of those prisoners who they think can avail this opportunity. After receiving the list, an OLA committee will decide the name of each recipient accordingly this year. Our focus in on Muscat, Salalah and Sohar.”