Yesterday, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared that it will end flogging as a form of punishment and that the General Commission for the Supreme Court will ensure that the punishment be replaced by prison sentences or fines, Reuters reported.
Saudi Arabia’s judicial system is based on Islamic Shariah law. For decades, flogging was the go-to judicial punishment for crimes like extramarital sex, public intoxication, harassment, and murder. And human rights activists across the globe have repeatedly criticized the Kingdom for this form of penalty, as well as beheading for murder, and amputation for theft.
This decision comes as a historic move as flogging has been a black point for Saudi Arabia for years, notably since 2015 when Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam, and the issue caught global attention.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts in portraying the country as progressive and initiating reform under his reign, the kingdom continues to be ultra-conservative due to its centuries-long social restrictions and fundamentalist approach.