Bangladesh is going to sign a deal with The United Arab Emirates (UAE) within months regarding prisoner swap. Sources said that it could lead to about 900 Bangladeshis serving out their jail terms at home.
The UAE authorities have sent us a draft on the proposal and more or less it [prisoner swap] has been finalised,” Muhammad Imran, the Bangladeshi ambassador to the UAE, said.
“We are expecting a meeting sometime in a couple of months. Then the two parties will sit together and finalise it,” he added.
Imran said he had spoken to many Bangladeshi inmates and they were interested in the initiative. While jail terms would not be reduced, he said it would give offenders the chance for a better life.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, about 800 to 900 Bangladeshi prisoners are serving jail terms here, according to thenational.ae.
“We hope that within two months we will sign this,” said Imran. He noted Bangladesh and the UAE had many things in common and the exchange was a positive step.
Sources said that Most Bangladeshis are there in local jails for offences such as fighting in labour camps and non-payment of loans. A few had committed major crimes.
“I have visited several UAE prisons like Al Wathba, Al Ain in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah jails as well, and they are well taken care off,” Imran said.
He said living in their own environment, speaking their own language and meeting with their families would help to rehabilitate them.
However, Imran said he did not know of any Emiratis in Bangladeshi jails, but the deal would be two way.
About 700,000 Bangladeshis live in the UAE.
Bilateral trade between the countries was US$967 million (Dh3.55 billion) in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.