Saudi Arabia Outlaws The Death Penalty for Minors with New Legislation


Lynn Sawyer, Writer

The death penalty is a controversial subject that has been debated thoroughly in the past decade. Human rights activists argue that the death penalty is inhuman. Saudi Arabia is one of many countries that come under constant scrutiny for still caarrying out the death penalty. They are the third leading country in capital punishment right after, Iran and China. Just last year alone Saudi Arabia killed 184 people. With 800 people being executed in five years.  Recently however Saudi Arabia has made an announcement that they will now not be killing minors or people who committed crimes that are punishable by death when they were minors. The teens and kids will now serve up to 10 years in jail instead of the death penalty. 

These new laws are in place because the crown prince Mohammad of Saudi Arabia wants to make the country more modern. The goal of this modernization is to attract foreign investments and to build a good reputation for the country. The general public is concerned that the crown prince might not follow through with these new promises since in the past his work in the country has come to the internet. In the past, the crown prince has sent human rights workers to prison for trying to achieve what he is not doing within the country. 

Maya Foa, a reprieve director is among the skeptical people, “These will be nothing more than empty words as long as child defendants remain on death row. Mohammed bin Salman has been promising to ‘minimize’ the death penalty for years, but the kingdom continues to execute people convicted of attending demonstrations while they were still in school,” He said this in an interview with CNN. 

While people in the government are on board with the decision to stop the death penalty, “a more modern penal code and demonstrates the kingdom’s commitment to following through on key reforms,” said the head of Saudi Arabia’s human rights commission, Awward Alawwad. 

The decision to stop giving capital punishment to minors was announced after another substantial human rights issues in Saudi Arabia was resolved. Flogging has recently become an issue in the country. The technique is used to publicly humiliate its victim. The use of flogging will not be in the public anymore, but will still be used behind doors. Both of these steps in the right direction are important for the country to become more progressive.