JEDDAH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia abolishes ‘flogging as a form of punish’, in yet another step to reform the field of human rights in the country.
This step was implemented under the direct supervision of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Human Rights Commission (HRC) welcomed the recent decision by the Supreme Court to effectively eliminate flogging as a potential punishes.
HRC President Awwad al-Awwad said the new decision is a huge step in Saudi Arabia’s reform of human rights.
‘This reform is a momentous step forward in Saudi Arabia’s human rights agenda, and merely one of many recent reforms in the Kingdom’, Awwad told Reuters.
The Saudi National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) welcomed the decision aiming to restrict the judge’s authority in imposing flogging, as some judges had exaggerated this punishment over the past years, despite its absence from legal and juristic texts.
Head of NSHR Muflih al-Qathani explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that judges will be able to find alternative punishments that could benefit the society as a whole.
He explained that individual judges have the liberty to interpret religious tests and come up with their own sentences, however, the new decision will help limit that and contribute to improving the image of the Kingdom, where some criticize Saudi Arabia for applying such punishments.
Judge Muhammad al-Jathlani, explained there were two types of flogging, first being legitimate as determined by Sharia, such as flogging adulterers, while the second, Tazir, is not states in the Sharia Law and is done at the discretion of the judge.
Jathlani told Asharq Al-Awsat that flogging as a punishment for certain violation and then another could order less than 100 lashes for more severe violations.
The judge also added that human rights organizations consider flogging a violation of human rights, but the Kingdom takes a jurisprudential position on this matter.
He clarified that Saudi authorities will not consider any topic that contradicts religious rulings or the country’s policies. However, the Kingdom welcomes any issue that can help improve the conditions in the country, highlighting the various local human rights organizations that align with the principles of international human rights organizations compatible with Islam.
The judge pointed out that flogging exists in the laws of many Islamic and non-Islamic countries, and is not only limited to Islam, citing judiciaries in Singapore and Malaysia that also adopt flogging.