MUSCAT, JULY 1 – A total of 673 people were released from different jails in the Sultanate in 2019, thanks to the Fak Kurbah, a charity initiative by Omani Lawyers Association. According to Dr Mohammed al Zadjali, Chairman of the association, the amount received through donations was approximately RO 508,220. “These donations were collected through direct deposits in the bank account of Fak Kurbah initiative, or through the voluntary funds at exhibitions held in Muscat, Salalah and Ibri, and by cheques issued on behalf of the Omani Lawyers Association, in addition to cash received at the association’s headquarters,” he said.
Since its inception in 2012, Fak Kurbah (redeeming anguish) spared no effort to cover all the cases referred by the court for those who are jailed for financial problems. Elderly people are given priority under the initiative. With regard to the promotion of the initiative, a campaign was launched on Internet and social media, he said. Campaigns were also carried by addressing private institutions and charities, in addition to awareness exhibitions conducted in different governorates of the Sultanate. Several social networking groups have also been created on Whatsapp, covering a number of cases.
Al Zajdali said that during the 2019 edition, one samaritan cleared the debts of 24 persons and secured their release from jail in Al Dhahirah. “Another special moment this year was the contribution from citizens from the Wilayat of Barka, who secured the release of 27 defaulters in Barka courts,” Al Zajdali said. He said that a group of beneficiaries raising funds was also created among Omantel employees, helping to release a good number of prisoners. Last but not the least, Bank Muscat contributed a good sum of money which secured the release of 220 detainees.
This has been the second consecutive contribution from Bank Muscat, after having released 190 people in the previous Fak Kurbah edition last year. In the first year of its launch in 2012 by 10 Omani lawyers, the charity initiative helped the release of 44 people who were imprisoned for various defaults in civil, commercial, sharia, or labour cases. In its second edition in 2014, Fak Kurbah could make a broader impact, covering most of the Sultanate’s courts and was accompanied with a legal exhibition to raise legal awareness in the community. It contributed in releasing 304 prisoners.
The third edition (2015) included three awareness exhibitions in prominent venues in Muscat, Suhar and Salalah, and covered all the Sultanate’s courts, helping in the release of 432 insolvents. “Efforts put into this third edition were rewarded by winning second place in the Sultan Qaboos Contest for Volunteer Work,” the chairman said. In the fourth edition in 2017, covering all courts in the country, three exhibitions were again held in Muscat, Suhar and Salalah, bringing public awareness in particular to the issue of cheques and dangers of signing cheques without sufficient financial resources in the account.
The fourth edition succeeded in releasing 452 insolvents, a large number, despite the economic conditions at that time. The fifth edition launched in 2018 has also witnessed three awareness exhibitions in Muscat, Suhar and Salalah, covered all the courts in the Sultanate and enabled the release of 510 prisoners. “In this year’s edition, we have targeted to close the highest number of case files with priority being given to the condition of the defaulters. Also, an amount of RO 2,000 was set as the maximum amount for each execution file. We approached private institutions and individuals to support this charitable work, through various means”, he said.