Twelve Filipinos have been given clemency by the government of Qatar in light of the holy month of Ramadan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.
The clemency was issued by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, the DFA said.
"The pardon is part of an annual Ramadan tradition across the Gulf," the DFA said. "The Emir usually issues this twice a year, during Ramadan and the Qatari National Day in December."
It also said that those granted clemency are often those who have already served a substantial portion of their sentences.
The Philippine Embassy in Doha is coordinating with the Search and Follow-Up Department under the Ministry of Interior for the early repatriation of the 12 Filipinos.
The DFA did not identify the pardoned Filipinos but said 11 of them are males and one is female.
It is a common practice in Arab states to grant royal pardon to both its nationals and foreigners who are not considered threat to public order during the time of Ramadan.
It covers those who are detained or jailed for petty crimes and violations and who have made restitutions to their victims. These include those whose charges are still being heard by the courts.
However, pardon does not include those arrested for major crimes, or offenses liable for specific punishments under Shariah law.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates had earlier released 11 Filipinos upon orders of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News