Saudi Arabia suspends prison sentences in debt cases

Saudi Arabia suspends prison sentences in debt cases
King Salman on Tuesday ordered the suspension of the implementation of final rulings and judicial orders related to the imprisonment of debtors. (SPA)
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Updated 08 April 2020

Saudi Arabia suspends prison sentences in debt cases

Saudi Arabia suspends prison sentences in debt cases
  • As part of efforts to slow spread of coronavirus, King Salman orders temporary release of debtors already in jail
  • Orders granting visitation rights to separated parents also put on hold for duration of COVID-19 crisis

RIYADH: As part of the efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia has called a temporary halt to prison sentences for individuals convicted in private cases involving unpaid debts.

King Salman on Tuesday ordered that the implementation of final judgments and orders in such cases be suspended. He also ordered the immediate, temporary release of prisoners already serving time for debt-related convictions, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In addition, the king suspended all orders and judgments granting an estranged parent child-visitation rights.

The orders will remain in force until the authorities announce that the pandemic no longer poses a threat to public health.

Walid Al-Samaani, the justice minister and president of the Supreme Judicial Council, thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the decisions. He said that they are part of the efforts being made by the government to ensure the safety of everyone in the Kingdom, and reflect the fact that public health is the main priority at this time.

The orders were implemented immediately. Legal and prison authorities have been notified and told to take all necessary action. All those affected by the suspension of parental visitation rights were notified by text message.