The Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia has said that the government will no longer impose death penalty on people who have committed crimes while still minors. The announcement regarding the death penalty came just two days after it was announced that it will also ban the practice of flogging. Riyad has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which says that the capital punishment should not be imposed on a person who is a minor. Activists have said that Saudi Arabia has been the worst in the world in terms of human rights record. Even the freedom of expression in the country is curtailed.
It is also a country where a record number of people are executed. Figures reveal that in 2019, the kingdom executed 184 people and at least one case involved a man convicted of a crime that he has committed when he was a minor. The president of a state supported commission, Awwad Alawwad issued a statement on April 26, 2020 that mentioned that minors will no longer be executed and will have a penalty of maximum of ten years in a detention centre for juveniles. Alawwad added that the new decree will help them to establish a modern penal code. However, it is still not clear as to when the decision will come to effect.
The human rights records of Saudi Arabian Kingdom has always been under scrutiny. A number of changes have been implemented in recent times but despite that, after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate, in Istanbul, in 2018, many of the women’s rights and civil rights activists are still in the prison.
A recent report revealed that a popular Saudi human rights campaigner died while in prison due to stroke. But the co-prisoners had claimed that the campaigner had died due to medical negligence by the authorities.
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