Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission says that minors will not be sentenced to death upon committing crimes in the country.
Citing a royal decree, King Salman, this announcement came, two days after the country said that it would ban flogging.
The statement says that instead of the death sentence, the minor will be jailed in the juvenile detention facility for 10 years at most.
As per activists, Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst human rights records. They say that in Saudi Arabia, freedom of expression is completely suppressed.
The kingdom’s rate of execution is one of the world’s highest, with suspects condemned of rape, terrorism, homicide, armed robbery, and drug trafficking hence facing the death penalty.
According to human rights group Amnesty International, in 2019, the kingdom executed 184 people, and among all those cases at least one case was of the minor committing a crime.
As per the official data, 12 people have already been executed, since January.
After the decree’s announcement, it’s believed that at least 6 men who are minors will be spared from the death rows bestowed upon them. They all are of the Shia community and have been accused of taking part in anti-government protests held during the Arab Spring uprisings. They all were of below 18 years of age.
After this incident, in the last year, United Nations human rights urgently appealed to Saudi Arabia to suspend their punishment of execution.
Awwad Alawwad, Human Rights Commission’s president marked the day, the announcement for stopping further flogging was made as an important day for Saudi Arabia. He further says that this decree will help them in establishing a more modern panel code.
The flogging of Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi, was the most high-profile example. He was sentenced to jail for 10 years and then was imposed with 1,000 lashes, back in 2014. He was accused of insulting Islam.
A Saudi official said that harder punishments under Islamic law such as flogging, or “hudud” are still allowed for serious crimes.
Further, the official added that Hudud, which means “boundaries” in Arabic, is meted out for such sins as rape, murder, or theft. But “hudud” punishments are rarely given as offenses which come under it require proof via a confession or it is verified by other adults Muslims who have witnessed it.