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Wed 20 May 2020 11:11 AM

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Saudi Arabia moves to abolish flogging as punishment

The kingdom's courts were all told to use jail terms of fines - or both - as alternative penalties

Saudi Arabia moves to abolish flogging as punishment

In April, a Saudi royal decree also ended the death penalty for those convicted of crimes carried out when they were minors. Image: AFP

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.”

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