King Salman has issued a decree that changes Saudi Arabia’s capital punishment laws.
According to the new ordinance, death sentences will no longer be imposed on offenders who committed crimes as minors, Reuters reported on April 26th. While it was not immediately clear when the decree was supposed to come into force, it was praised by human rights activists worldwide.
Awwad Alawwad, the president of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, released the statement, providing more details:
“The decree means that any individuals who received a death sentence for crimes committed while he or she was a minor can no longer face execution. Instead, the individual will receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility.”
“This is an important day for Saudi Arabia. The decree helps us in establishing a more modern penal code, and demonstrates the kingdom’s commitment to following through on key reforms across all sectors of our country.”
On April 25th Saudi Arabia eliminated flogging as a form of lawful punishment, replacing it with fines, jail time, or both.
Saudi Arabia’s law still permits other types of brutal criminal punishment such as hand amputation for thieves and beheading for murder or terrorism charges. It is believed that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who directly supervises and proposes many liberal reforms of the kingdom, will eventually modify these laws as well.