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Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for crimes committed by minors after effectively abolishing flogging

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Saudi Arabia will abolish the death penalty imposed on those who committed crimes while still minors, the kingdom’s Human Rights Commission has announced.

In a statement published yesterday, president of the state-backed commission Awwad Alawwad said: “The decree helps us in establishing a more modern penal code.”

“Instead, the individual will receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility,” the statement said.

The decree is expected to spare the lives of at least six men from the minority Shia community who are on death row. The six men were accused of taking part in anti-government protests during the Arab Spring uprisings while they were under the age of 18.

“This is an important day for Saudi Arabia,” said Awwad Alawwad. “The decree helps us in establishing a more modern penal code.”

Details of when the new ruling would come into effect were not provided, but it comes two days after it was revealed that Saudi Arabia would no longer use flogging as a punishment for crimes, bringing to an end the practice for which the kingdom has long been criticised.

In 2019, 184 people were executed in Saudi Arabia as per Amnesty International, a Human Rights group.


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