Riyadh, April 25 (IANS) Saudi Arabia is to abolish flogging as a form of punishment, according to a directive from the Kingdom’s Supreme Court, adding that flogging will be replaced by imprisonment or fines.
The directive issued on Friday says this was an extension of human rights reforms brought by King Salman and his son, the country’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reports the BBC.
The last time that flogging in Saudi Arabia hit the headlines was in 2015 when blogger Raif Badawi was subjected to the punishment in public, reportedly after being convicted of cybercrime and insulting Islam.
He had been due to receive 1,000 lashes in weekly beatings but global outrage and reports that he nearly died put a stop to that part of his sentence.
This comes as campaigners have said that Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records for human rights in the world, with freedom of expression severely curtailed and critics of the government subject to what they say is arbitrary arrest, the BBC reported.
Earlier on Friday, the most prominent Saudi human rights campaigner died in jail after a stroke which fellow activists say was due to medical neglect by the authorities.