Saudi Arabia abolishes death penalty for minors

On the 26th, the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia announced a royal decree not to apply the death penalty for crimes committed before adulthood. The country just announced two days ago that it would ban whipping.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia also participates in, stipulates that the death penalty should not be applied to offenses committed by minors.

Among human rights activists, Saudi Arabia is considered one of the least protected countries in the world. Freedom of expression is severely restricted, and people who criticize the government are arbitrarily arrested.

In Saudi Arabia, 184 people were sentenced to death last year, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. At least one of these was said to have been executed for a crime committed before adulthood.

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The Human Rights Commission announced in a statement that if a minor commits a crime equivalent to the death penalty, it will switch to prison for up to 10 years in a youth facility.

This royal decree will bring about more modern punishment, he said.

However, the national media did not immediately report this decision, and its implementation was not straightforward.
Although Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government, was found murdered in October 2018 by the Saudi Consulate-General in Istanbul, Turkey, the country has been working to improve human rights issues, and It is still under severe scrutiny. Many civil rights and women’s rights activists are still detained.

Recently, Saudis’ most famous human rights activist Abdullah Al Hamid died of a heart attack while in prison but has been criticized for failing to provide proper medical care.

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