Arabian Business, Thursday, May 21, 2020 | Ramadan 28, 1441
Saudi Arabia moves to abolish flogging as punishment
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of
Justice and chairman of the Supreme Judiciary, Sheikh Walid Al-Samaani, has
instructed that courts abolish flogging as a form of punishment, it was
announced on Tuesday.
The kingdom’s courts were all told to
use jail terms of fines – or both - as alternative penalties.
Saudi Arabia had long used flogging
as a punishment for a variety of fines. In many cases – such as that of Saudi
blogger Raif Badawi – the punishment was met with international condemnation.
The case was particularly common in cases in which individual judges were
given the latitude to interpret religious texts and devise their own
sentences, according to Saudi Gazette.
The move to abolish flogging was quickly praised by Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who
said that the “end of flogging as a form of discretionary punishment makes
good on another promised reform in Saudi Arabia.”
In April, a Saudi royal decree also ended the death penalty for those
convicted of crimes carried out when they were minors.
“The Human Rights Commission is focused on ensuring that announcements
of human rights reforms come to fruition,” Al-Awwad said. “We welcome
another step in the kingdom’s advancement of real human rights reforms
as a part of its Vision 2030 modernization agenda.”