Saudi justice comes under criticism from rights group

March 26th, 2008 - 12:18 am ICT by admin  

London, March 25 (DPA) The Human Rights Watch, the international rights watchdog, harshly criticized Saudi Arabia’s justice system in a report published Tuesday in London. In particular, the manner of dealing with minors who have been sentenced to flogging or even to death was cruel and contradicted the principles of the rule of law, the report said.

Some children were sentenced for harmless “offences” such as “begging, running away from home or being alone with someone from the opposite sex”.

Last year, a 15-year-old boy was executed for a “crime” committed when he was only 13.

Saudi Arabia’s monarch does not question the principles of sharia law, under which murderers or drug dealers are beheaded.

International human rights organisations have for decades criticized the kingdom allowing the practice of cutting off a thief’s hand.

Accused are also often sentenced to prison sentences plus flogging.

Saudi Arabia does not have a penal code and judges pass verdict based on their own interpretation of sharia law.

King Abdullah announced a reform of the justice system a few weeks ago, which among other things, would strengthen the right to appeal.

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