Saudi Arabia Ends Executions for Crimes Committed by Minors

Saudi Arabia will no longer impose the death penalty on people who committed crimes while still minors, the country’s Human Rights Commission says, BBC reported.

The announcement, citing a royal decree by King Salman, comes two days after the country said it would ban flogging.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Riyadh has signed, says capital punishment should not be used for offences carried out by minors.

Activists say Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst human rights records. They say freedom of expression is severely curtailed and critics of the government are subject to what they say is arbitrary arrest, BBC writes.

A record 184 people were executed in the kingdom in 2019, according to human rights group Amnesty International. At least one case involved a man convicted of a crime committed when he was a minor, the rights group reported.

In a statement published on Sunday, Awwad Alawwad, president of the state-backed commission, said a royal decree had replaced executions in cases where crimes were committed by minors with a maximum penalty of 10 years in a juvenile detention centre.

“The decree helps us in establishing a more modern penal code,” Alawwad said, without providing additional details on when the decision would come into effect.

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