Justice Ministry: All defendants get fair trial in Saudi courts

Sat, 2017-08-05 03:00

JEDDAH: Following Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the death sentences of 14 people convicted of a range of offenses that posed a threat to national security, and which also involved killing innocent civilians, the spokesman of the Saudi Ministry of Justice, Sheikh Mansour Al-Ghafari, maintained that all defendants receive fair trials in Saudi courts, which meet all the required criteria and conditions of the Saudi legal system.
Al-Ghafari said that all sentences against defendants in terrorist cases are subject to meticulous audit and review in the Special Appeal Court and the Supreme Court. Death sentences, in particular, require validation from both a Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, which means they need to go through many stages, involving the participation of 13 judges, before the sentence is ultimately approved, Al-Ghafari said.
Throughout this period, defendants enjoy full legal rights, including the right to appoint attorneys of their choice, and the ministry pays the ensuing expenses if the defendant cannot afford them, he added.
Moreover, he stressed that all court hearings are held in the presence of defendants’ parents and representatives of the press and human rights groups.
In cases where defendants are non-Saudis, the spokesman said, the embassies of their home countries are notified to send representatives to attend the trials.
Al-Ghafari added that the court gives defendants enough time to prepare and present their defense, and harsh sentences are only passed for the most dangerous crimes — those which threaten the safety and security of society and represent a violation of human rights and dignity, principally the rights to life and security.

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