Saudi rights body welcomes introduction of alternative penalties

Saudi rights body welcomes introduction  of alternative penalties
Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, speaks during the event in Riyadh. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 28 August 2020

Saudi rights body welcomes introduction of alternative penalties

Saudi rights body welcomes introduction  of alternative penalties
  • New measures will contribute to decrease in number of detainees, says HRC chief

JEDDAH: The Saudi Human Rights Commission welcomed Thursday’s decision by the attorney general to adopt alternative penalties, including electronic tagging, for those convicted of certain crimes in the Kingdom.
a“We welcome the issuance of the attorney general’s decision today, which defined major crimes requiring arrest, and reduced the (number of) crimes that warrant arrest. (The decision) was flexible in the possibility of releasing detainees accused of committing those crimes. This will contribute to a decrease in the number of detainees,” said the commission’s president, Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad.
He added that the commission strongly endorses the introduction of alternative penalties “as it deepens the impact of reform, on which the idea of punishment is based, and contributes to strengthening efforts to reintegrate and rehabilitate convicts, which is an important step that supports the development of the judiciary and prison systems in the Kingdom.”
The attorney general’s decision specified that alternative penalties will not be available to people with criminal records, people sentenced to more than 3 years in prison, in private rights cases, or to those found guilty of “border crimes, major crimes, and crimes that involve arms.”
In 2011, the Ministry of Interior adopted an electronic monitoring system for convicts who were not considered a threat to public safety, and in certain humanitarian cases, such as allowing a prisoner to visit a sick relative or attend a funeral. The system provides immediate data on the wearer’s location at all times, and each wearer may have different regulations to follow: Some may not be allowed to leave their homes, or their home cities. Others maybe be able to go to specific locations to do specific tasks, such as heads of families who need to provide for dependents.
“Alternative penalties will allow some (people) to spend their sentences doing social work or other services that benefit the society, and even help their reintegration into society and ease pressure on prisons,” General Director of Prisons Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Asmari said in an earlier statement.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission concluded a human rights training program for young leaders, titled “My Identity, My Humanity,” on Wednesday.
The online program was organized in cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and focused on discussions of several social initiatives for which participants were encouraged to come up with ideas.
The first, “Difference is not a Dispute,” aims to eradicate racial discrimination in Saudi society by promoting respect for religious and cultural differences.
The second, “Your Safety,” promotes awareness of cybersecurity to reduce the risks that the internet can pose to children.
The third initiative, “You Can Help Saudi Arabia,” is intended to further involve youth in the Kingdom in achieving sustainable development goals based on preserving human rights, as well as empowering women, and spreading this culture throughout the Kingdom.
The fourth initiative, “Our Environment is Our Responsibility,” focuses on efforts to reduce plastic and ensure a more sustainable and safer environment for future generations.