Justice Ministry: All defendants get fair trial in Saudi courts

A general view of the Ministry of Justice building in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)
Updated 05 August 2017
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Justice Ministry: All defendants get fair trial in Saudi courts

JEDDAH: Following Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the death sentences of 14 people convicted of a range of offenses that posed a threat to national security, and which also involved killing innocent civilians, the spokesman of the Saudi Ministry of Justice, Sheikh Mansour Al-Ghafari, maintained that all defendants receive fair trials in Saudi courts, which meet all the required criteria and conditions of the Saudi legal system.
Al-Ghafari said that all sentences against defendants in terrorist cases are subject to meticulous audit and review in the Special Appeal Court and the Supreme Court. Death sentences, in particular, require validation from both a Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, which means they need to go through many stages, involving the participation of 13 judges, before the sentence is ultimately approved, Al-Ghafari said.
Throughout this period, defendants enjoy full legal rights, including the right to appoint attorneys of their choice, and the ministry pays the ensuing expenses if the defendant cannot afford them, he added.
Moreover, he stressed that all court hearings are held in the presence of defendants’ parents and representatives of the press and human rights groups.
In cases where defendants are non-Saudis, the spokesman said, the embassies of their home countries are notified to send representatives to attend the trials.
Al-Ghafari added that the court gives defendants enough time to prepare and present their defense, and harsh sentences are only passed for the most dangerous crimes — those which threaten the safety and security of society and represent a violation of human rights and dignity, principally the rights to life and security.


‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

Updated 1 min 29 sec ago
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‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

  • “First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah” Akon said 
  • He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits at the Asharqiah Music Festival

DAMMAM: American rapper Akon captivated a packed crowd at the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday, opening up the second night of musical festivities at Sharqiah Season with a special shout-out to Saudi Arabia.

“You have no idea, I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi for years, man,” Akon said, before launching into his song, “Gunshot.” Later, he told the crowd: “I’m seeing a tremendous change in Saudi Arabia here tonight."

At 8 p.m., under a bright moon on a beautifully cool night, Akon began his set, delighting fans who had spent over 10 minutes chanting his name in anticipation of his arrival.

He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits, including “Smack That,” “Mr. Lonely” and “Sorry: Blame It On Me.” And he wrapped things up with “I love you, Saudi... thank you for making me feel at home."

Backstage before the concert, Akon told Arab News how excited he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He was especially excited to visit one Saudi city in particular.

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah.”