Saudi Death Sentences for Juvenile Offenders Not Commuted Despite Decree
The death sentences of five people in Saudi Arabia who committed crimes as minors have not yet been commuted to prison terms, despite a decree issued in March that ended capital punishment for juveniles.
Human rights groups in the country told Reuters that the decree was not disseminated in traditional ways, such as on state media and in the official gazette, leading to concerns that it could be ignored.
The royal decree issued by King Salman was announced by the kingdom’s official Human Rights Commission, which said that the decree mandated that individuals sentenced to death for crimes committed while they were still minors would instead serve prison terms of up to 10 years in juvenile detention centers. The decree was to come into effect immediately.
The Saudi government’s Center for International Communications told Reuters that the royal decree would be applied retroactively to all cases where an individual was sentenced to death for offenses committed under the age of 18.
If Saudi Arabia does carry out the executions, it could damage relations with the incoming Biden Administration, Reuters reported, which has said it will reassess ties with the kingdom.