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Saudi Arabia: Committee Backs Legalizing Infinite Detention

The Committee of Islamic and Judicial Affairs in the appointed Saudi Consultative Assembly supported suggestions to relax the requirements for execution and to give courts the right to approve infinite detention.

The current law mandates unanimity in the national Judicial Council for death sentences, but the suggested amendment would allow death sentences to pass by a majority of opinions.

Al Riyadh newspaper reported:

وأكدت اللجنة القضائية أن مصلحة الأمة مقدمة على مصلحة الفرد، وقتل التعزير وعقوبته خاصة بالإمام وله مايراه محققاً للمصلحة.
The committee affirms that the interest of the nation comes before the interest of the individual, and that the death sentence is a right of the ruler to apply when he sees fit.

The committee said that the reason for them to support the amendment is that:

ما يترتب على بقاء هذه الفقرة من تعطيل الحكم بالقتل تعزيراً وخاصة في قضايا تهريب وترويج المخدرات وقضايا أمن الدولة.
The [requirement of unanimity] prevents death sentences especially in cases of drug trade and state security.

Moreover, the committee supported an amendment to give courts the right to extend detention periods for uncharged prisoners infinitely.

Saudi reformist and previous political prisoner Moubark al-Zuair commented:

‎‫#لا_لتعديل_المادة_114‬‏ لأن التعديل يعني: استمتع بالقيود بلا حدود ..
@alzuair: [Don't amend article 114] because the amendment means: enjoy the handcuffs forever…

Member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association Abdullah al-Sa'id said that this was an attempt to pass the Anti-Terrorism Law, referring to the infamous drafted law which was leaked by Amnesty International in July 2011.

بعد فشل اصدار ( قانون الارهاب ) تحاول الداخلية تعديل المادة التي تمنع الاعتقال دون محاكمة / لتصبح اعتقالاتها نظامية #لا_لتعديل_المادة_114
@abdulllah1406: After their unsuccessful attempt to pass the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Interior Ministry is trying to amend that article to legalize current detentions.

Saudi Twitter user, Jihad, commented:

مجلس الشورى رسميًا يتواطأ ضد الشعب، تذكروا موقفهم جيدًا يوم الحساب قريب .. قريب جدًا
@CheJihad: The consultative assembly is formally against the people. Remember their position very well, because they will be held accountable soon, very soon!

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