No royal ‘is above law’
No royal ‘is above law’
“In some countries the kings and heads of state have immunity from prosecution. But here any citizen can file lawsuits against the king, crown prince or other members of the royal family,” said King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Wednesday, during a meeting with anti-corruption officials and activists from the public and private sectors.
King Salman said his father was once sued by a citizen. King Abdul Aziz insisted on letting the law take its course and appeared in court with the plaintiff, where they were treated as equals. The verdict was in favor of the king but he waived his rights. Sheikh Saad bin Atiq was the judge.
He said Allah would reward citizens who point out mistakes made by him, members of the government, or community. The public can lodge complaints face to face, on the telephone or in writing, he said.
King Salman said he considers the rights of citizens “more important” than his own, and that the real defense against corrupt activity was the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
This was the foundation of the country over the years, from the time of Muhammad bin Saud, to Turki bin Abdullah, followed by “my father Abdulaziz, and then to Saud, Faisal, Khaled, Fahd and Abdullah, and the crown princes Sultan and Naif.”
King Salman said the Kingdom was a safe haven for everyone. “Thanks to Allah, our constitution is the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger, and the example of the pious Khalifs. Thank God, our country is secure and stable, and any citizen can come address us by our first names, without any honorific title, just as citizens used to address our father,” the king said.
“I tell you, I repeat again that the pride, strength and responsibility of this country lie in the fact that it is the direction in which Muslims across the world pray, and the place where revelation was received by Muhammad (peace be upon him). It came in the Arabic language to an Arab prophet. Therefore we have the greatest responsibility in the entire world,” the king said.
Speaking on the occasion, Khaled Al-Muhaisin, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), said: “Since the unification of the Kingdom, the major goal of the founder of the nation, King Abdulaziz, has been to fight corruption.”
Al-Muhaisin said King Abdulaziz sent out a message to citizens that if they do not lodge complaints about officials then it was like sinning against themselves. The founder had placed a complaints box at the gate to Government House and kept the key so that citizens would not fear any repercussions from officials targeted.
Al-Muhaisin said this message currently serves as a guiding light for the Nazaha. He thanked King Salman for supporting the organization’s activities, including efforts to revise regulations that would strengthen its mandate.