Saudi Arabia has abolished the provision of capital punishment for crimes committed by minors
The abolition of capital punishment for minors is the latest step in a series of human rights reforms undertaken by Saudi Arabia’s royal family.
The announcement has been made by the Nation-backed Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia. According to the commission, the latest reforms will ensure that anyone who commits a crime as a minor is not sentenced to death.
In place of death penalty, that minor criminal will be sent to Juvenile Detention Facility for a maximum period of 10 years.
Human rights organization Amnesty International has listed Saudi Arabia as the world’s most brutal country to die of people after Iran and China.
In its latest report, Amnesty International said that in the year 2019 in Saudi Arabia, about 184 people were sentenced to death.
China (1000 deaths) among the top countries to pay the death penalty in 2019; Iran (251 deaths); Saudi Arabia (184 deaths); Iraq (100 deaths) and Egypt (32 deaths).
Among those sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, more were arrested for drug and murder.
Amnesty International in its report expressed concern over the increasing use of the death penalty as a political weapon against minority Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia.
According to Amnesty International’s report, 23 people were massacred in Saudi Arabia on April 23, 2019, of which 32 were Shia men who were arrested on charges of ‘terrorism’.
Whipping or whipping
Before banning the death penalty for minors, Saudi Arabia also banned whipping or whipping.
Before abolishing this type of punishment, it was used for crimes such as murder, breach of peace, homosexuality, use of alcohol, abusing women and insulting Islam.
Before the ban on female drivers was lifted in 2018, any woman driving could be punished for whipping.
It is noteworthy that in the year 2014, blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison along with 1,000 whips for ‘insulting Islam’.
Present death penalty
Capital Punishment is the highest punishment awarded to a person under any kind of penal law in the world. The death penalty has always been a controversial issue from a human rights point of view.
The provision of the death penalty has been present in human society from the primitive to the present day, but the reasons behind it and the methods of its execution have changed continuously over time.
The first mention of the death penalty is found in the eighteenth century BCE Hammurabi’s Legislative Code where there was a provision of capital punishment for 25 types of crimes.
According to Amnesty International, as of 2017, there were 106 countries where the use of capital punishment is completely banned. At the same time, there are 7 countries which allow the punishment of death penalty for serious offenses under exceptional circumstances, such as crimes committed in wartime.
There are 56 countries in the world who have upheld the death penalty in their law or no official announcement has been made by the authorities regarding its use.
It is a prevalent concept that over time the penal laws also become more soft and the punishment of the ruthless nature gets progressively out of fashion.
At the same time, there is no study which makes it clear that the death penalty is more effective in preventing crime than life imprisonment. Therefore, on the basis of mere imagination, the death penalty cannot be considered too harsh.
Conversely, the death penalty proponents oppose that the person who commits the murder takes away the right to live one’s life, due to which the right to life also ends. Thus death penalty is a kind of retaliation.
Several social and economic reforms aimed at modernizing the country have been initiated under the leadership of Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
However this is only a beginning and there is still much work to be done in the field of human rights and social reform in Saudi Arabia.
Ultimately, Mahatma Gandhi has said that ‘hate should be from crime, not criminal’.