RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia will no longer impose the death sentence on individuals who committed crimes while still minors, the state-backed Human Rights Commission (HRC) said in a statement, citing a royal decree by King Salman.
‘The decree means that any individuals who received a death sentence for crimes committed while he or she is a minor can no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention’, HRC President Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.
In was not immediately clear when the decree, which was not immediately carried on state media, would take effect.
‘This is an important day for Saudi Arabia’, Alawwad said. ‘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 for our country’.
The announcement came just two days after the kingdom in effect scrapped the punishment of flogging, in a decision by the General Commission for the Supreme Court. The punishment will instead be replaced by prison time or fines.
Capital punishment for crimes committed by people under the age of 18 runs contrary to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia has ratified.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a series of social and economic reforms aimed to modernizing the conservative kingdom, which has no codified system of low to go with the texts making up sharia, or Islamic law.