Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court on Saturday announced the abolition of age-long practice of flogging as a form of punishment.
The Supreme Court which stated that the action is intended to “bring the kingdom into line with international human rights norms against corporal punishment”, adding that it is part of reforms pushed by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and his son, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
Judges in the country will now have to choose between fines and/or jail sentences or non-custodial alternatives like community service.
AFP reported that the abolition of corporal punishment in Saudi Arabia comes just days after the kingdom’s human rights record was again in the spotlight, following news of the death from a stroke on leading activist, Abullah al-Hamid, 69.
A recent high-profile instance of flogging was the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes and then resentenced to 10 years and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for blogging about free speech and “insulting Islam”.