Minister: Saudi Arabia’s judiciary enjoys full autonomy to deal with Khashoggi case

Saudi Arabia's Justice Minister Waleed Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Minister: Saudi Arabia’s judiciary enjoys full autonomy to deal with Khashoggi case

  • The justice minister explained the directives and decisions ordered by King Salman
  • Dr. Al-Samaani also said that the administration of justice is the permanent approach of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's judiciary enjoys full autonomy to deal with the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom's Justice Minister Dr. Waleed Al-Samaani said in a statement issued by state news agency SPA on Saturday.

He added that the Khashoggi case took place on Saudi sovereign territory and it will be looked at by Saudi courts when all procedures are complete.

Dr. Al-Samaani also said that the administration of justice is the permanent approach of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that the Kingdom will not deviate from this approach.

Saudi Arabia’s judicial institution was founded upon the principles of Islamic law and values of justice that order fairness, Dr. Al-Samaani said. He continued by saying that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed fully support Saudi judicial institutions that aim to prevent harm to the Kingdom or its citizens, wherever they may be. 

The justice minister explained that the directives and decisions ordered by King Salman, in the wake of the unfortunate and tragic event that led to Khashoggi’s death, are a continuation of the Kingdom’s approach to “establish the foundations of justice, according to our tolerant law, and the leadership's keenness to protect the safety of all its citizens and care for them wherever they are.”

He said: “We, as Saudi citizens, are proud of our mandate, who have spared no effort in caring for the homeland and the citizens of this blessed country.”

The Minister of Justice added that the Kingdom is steadfast in its justice and will not be destabilized by any hostile behaviors, including reckless media outlets that lack professionalism and credibility.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Bandar Al-Aiban, affirmed that the directives issued by King Salman to uncover the circumstances of Khashoggi’s disappearance, which led to the disclosure of his demise and the subsequent detention of suspects as part of the investigations.
This included the subsequent detention of a number of suspects and the dismissal of a number of officials, which is aimed at achieving justice and accountability of those involved in this case, including the perpetrators.
He added that justice will be applied with full rigor and transparency.
The formation of a ministerial committee, under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to restructure the General Intelligence Presidency, falls in line with efforts to consolidate the foundations of justice in accordance with Islamic law and to protect the security and safety of all citizens and residents in the Kingdom, and to ensure the safety of its citizens at home and abroad.
“These orders and measures unequivocally affirm that the protection of human rights, in accordance with the provisions of Islamic law and regulations is one of the most important priorities of the state. The judiciary will have the final say in achieving justice and bringing those involved to a fair trial,” he said.
Dr. Al-Aiban offered the deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.

 


IMF: KSA reform program in right direction but needs to ‘scale up’

Updated 37 min 18 sec ago
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IMF: KSA reform program in right direction but needs to ‘scale up’

  • IMF expects the Saudi economy to grow by 2.2 percent this year
  • Privatizations could have beneficial impact says analyst

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s reform process is heading in the right direction, but the Kingdom needs to “scale up” in certain areas of the economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF’s director for the Middle East and Central Asia, Jihad Azour, told journalists in Dubai that prospects for foreign direct investment — which the Kingdom has sought to attract in its strategy to get away from oil dependency — would benefit from more government measures to increase public sector involvement.
“The fiscal reform process is heading in the right direction, but improving employment prospects are subject to continued structural reform and the Vision 2030 program. Allowing women to drive is expected to have a positive effect on growth, but more progress is still needed and it needs to scale up, especially in education for local skills, and allowing small-to-medium enterprises to grow with access to finance,” he said.
On foreign direct investment (FDI), he said the oil industry had its own dynamic, but that other sectors were still dependent on public investment, and FDI would come if there were more opportunity in the private sector and in SMEs.
Azour made the comments in Dubai in the course of his twice-yearly regional economic outlook, which forecast economic growth across most of the region — with the exception of Iran — but warned that Middle East economics faced “gathering storm clouds” from global macro-economic issues and from oil price volatility.
“Global growth remains strong, but there are troubling signs ahead. Growth has become uneven; trade barriers and tensions are increasing; financial market conditions have tightened; and investor sentiment is volatile and uncertain. This changing global economic environment is bringing new challenges for the countries in the region,” he said.
In the oil-exporting Arabian Gulf countries, overall growth would resume this year following a contraction in 2017, with the IMF forecasting 2.4 percent for 2018 and 3 percent next year. “Higher oil prices and a slower pace of fiscal consolidation are boosting near-term growth prospects,” Azour said.
Saudi Arabia growth would be 2.2 percent this year and 2.4 percent next, the IMF is forecasting. For the UAE, the figures are forecast at 2.9 percent this year and 3.7 percent next, with Dubai projected at 4 percent in 2019.
“The outlook on Iran has been significantly downgraded as a result of the re-imposition of US sanctions, which are anticipated to lead to a drop in oil production and exports in the coming years,” he added. Inflation could reach 35 percent next year.
However, he said that Iranian sanctions might not be a “big negative” for neighboring countries in the Middle East because many did not rush to increase trade or financial flows after the sanctions were relaxed in 2015.
In the oil-importing economies, the IMF said that overall economies are expected to grow 4.5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2019. But there were great variations across the non-oil regions of the Middle East. Egypt was forecast to grow its economy by more than 5 percent, but many oil importers would grow at less than 3 percent.
“Rising oil prices have added to fiscal pressures in many oil-importing countries, leading to an uptick in energy subsidies,” Azour said.
The IMF executive said that there was the prospect of “reform fatigue” in many counties in the region against the backdrop of slower economic growth.
On the prospects of global trade war between the US and China, he said that the direct impact on Middle East countries would be small, but that the indirect effects — in the form of slower global economic growth and lower oil prices — could be big.
Razan Nasser, senior economist for the Middle East at HSBC, said that FDI had been in decline in Saudi Arabia for some time and, despite successes in attracting capital to the country’s markets via the upgrade to emerging markets status, it was not an easy task to attract a long-term productive capital.
Salman Jeffrey, chief business development officer at the Dubai International Financial Center, said Saudi Arabia’s privatization plans were crucial in attracting foreign investment into the Kingdom.
“You have to pin your hopes on the privatization program coming through. Once you get one or two (privatizations) in the pipeline you will see a significant effect,” he added.