Saudi Arabia abolishes death penalty for young offenders

World Grigory Matyunin 29-Apr-2020
Saudi Arabia
ID 149120612 © Wajed Abu Rmadan | Dreamstime.com

Saudi Arabia has announced that minors, defined as individuals aged under 18, will no longer be subject to the death penalty. Instead of execution, young offenders will now face a maximum of 10 years in a juvenile detention facility.

Riyadh has also pledged to abolish flogging as a punishment. Convicts will instead receive fines or prison sentences. This was reported widely by Saudi media, including the pro-government newspaper Okaz.

The new developments come in a series of measures undertaken by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to modernise the kingdom which has a long history of social conservatism. Other steps have previously included the widely publicised decision to allow women to drive cars.

In 2019, 187 people were put to death in Saudi Arabia, the highest number in over two decades.

The recent changes have raised hopes that 13 individuals currently on death row for offences committed as children will be spared the death penalty and released.

Maya Foa, the director of the advocacy group Reprieve, has praised the move.