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Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for minors

Awwad Alawwad, President of the state-backed commission stated on April 26 that the royal decree had decided to end the executions in cases where crimes were committed by minors.

Apr 27, 2020 18:59 IST
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The Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia announced that the kingdom has ended the death penalty for the crimes committed by the minors.

The announcement came two days after the country said that it would ban flogging. As per the activists, Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst human rights records.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Child, signed by Riyadh stated that capital punishment should not be applied for offenses carried by the minors.

Statement by Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission President:

Awwad Alawwad, President of the state-backed commission stated on April 26 that the royal decree had decided to end the executions in cases where crimes were committed by minors. Instead, there will be a prison sentence of 10 years in a juvenile detention centre.

He further mentioned that the announced decision will help in the establishment of more model penal code.

Why Saudi Arabia took this step?

It is of an opinion that the steps are being taken in the light of human rights criticism faced by Saudi Arabia at an international level.

It can also be seen as an attempt by the kingdom to carry out reforms as per the vision 2030 which was projected by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Key Highlights:

•  In 2019, 184 people were executed in Saudi Arabia as per Amnesty International, a Human Rights group.

•  At least one of the cases involved a man convicted of a crime committed when he was a minor.

•  As per the activists, the freedom of expression is curtailed and those who criticize the government are subjected to the arbitrary arrest.

•  It has been unclear that when the decision would come into effect, as it was not reported immediately by the state media.

Human Rights in Saudi Arabia:

Despite the announced changes in the death penalty, the Human Rights record in Saudi Arabia has always been under intense scrutiny. It was followed by the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

There are other reports of civil rights and women rights activists remaining in prison which includes the death of a prominent Saudi human rights campaigner in jail after a stroke. The fellow activists reported that it was due to the neglect of medical facilities by the authorities.

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