By Arab News
Human rights officials, lawyers and ordinary Saudis gave a warm welcome on Saturday to the abolition of flogging as a judicial sentence in the Kingdom’s courts.
Offenders who were once sentenced to flogging will now receive fines or prison sentences instead, the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) said.
The HRC “welcomes the recent decision by the Supreme Court to effectively eliminate flogging as a potential punishment,” it said. “This significant reform was implemented under the direct supervision of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
HRC president Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad said: “This reform is a momentous step forward in Saudi Arabia’s human rights agenda, and merely one of over 70 human rights reforms carried out in the Kingdom over the past five years.
“Although these reforms improve the lives of a wide range of beneficiaries, including women, workers, youths and the elderly, they all stem from the same overarching desire to make a better life for all citizens and residents of the Kingdom.”
The decision confirmed the great support the judicial system had from the Kingdom’s leadership, he said.
Shoura Council member Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahhas told Arab News the change reflected the Kingdom’s reforms.“We are in a time of change and development in everything, including the execution of judgments that would benefit convicts as well as society in different ways.
“This is a decision that represents the great wisdom of Saudi institutions, and is compatible with the bright future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Abdulrahman Allahim, a lawyer, told Arab News: “This is an important and historic decision in the Kingdom’s judiciary system.”
Saudis on social media also welcomed the decision. Muneif Al-Muneif said: “Flogging is an inappropriate sentence for a state like Saudi Arabia. I think it is a historic moment to rule out that punishment from our judicial dictionary. The judge has many alternatives to replace it with, more appropriate for us and our country.”
Another user, A. Turki, said: “A human’s dignity must be preserved, even if he makes a mistake. He should be punished in a manner that preserves his humanity, and public flogging in front of people kills his humanity.”