Saudi Arabia officially abolished “Ta’zir flogging” as a form of punishment, the Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday.
“Prison [sentences] or fines or both will be some of the alternative sentences to replace flogging. Courts will hear and evaluate cases and make sound decisions regarding each case,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Prison or fines or both will be some of the alternative sentences to replace flogging. Courts will hear and evaluate cases and make most sound decisions regarding each case. https://t.co/2yvqKGfUZ9— Saudi Ministry of Justice (@MojKsa_EN) May 19, 2020
The Minister of Justice, Waleed al-Samaani, issued a circular to all courts informing them of the Supreme Court’s decision: Courts should issue prison sentences or fines or a combination of both as punishment for crimes instead of “Ta’zir flogging.”
The concept of “Ta’zir” allows judges to decide on the form of punishments for crimes which are not specifically outlined by Islamic Sharia law according to the Quran or the Prophet’s word (Hadith).
A document stating Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court's decision to eliminate "Ta'zir flogging", seen by Al Arabiya English, had emerged towards the end of April.
At the time, the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) welcomed the decision, and said: "This decision ensures that those who were once sentenced with floggings, will now receive fines or prison sentences instead. This significant reform was implemented under the direct supervision of King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman."
HRC President Awwad al-Awaad said: “This reform is a momentous step forward in Saudi Arabia’s human rights agenda, and merely one of over 70 human rights reforms carried out in the Kingdom over the past five years.”
“Although these reforms improve the lives of a wide range of beneficiaries, including women, workers, youth, and the elderly, they all stem from the same overarching desire to make a better life for all citizens and residents of the Kingdom,” he added.
The decision comes weeks after the Kingdom abolished the death sentence for individuals who committed crimes while still minors under 18 years of age.