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Title: Minors' crimes in Saudi Arabia : analytical thematic study on Saudi juveniles' system
Author: Alotaibi, Hajed Abdulhadi S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 2547
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2018
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As a paralegal in Saudi Arabia for some years, I observed a number of thematic problems related to the Saudi Arabian juveniles' system. These problems concern the lack of codification/consolidation or Tadwin, unclear determination of the age of puberty, misclassification of juveniles' crimes and gross inconsistency in the penalties meted out. This study employs a mixed methodology which involves analytical and statistical approaches to the problem. Judicial applications from three courts in Riyadh were examined to clarify the traditional classification for juveniles' crimes (i.e. Hudud, Qisas and Ta'zir crimes). Specifically, under the Hudud crimes, I investigate four crimes: adultery, drugs and alcohol offences, Hirabah (armed robbery), and theft. Additionally, details of 271 cases within the period from June 2010 until about June 2015 were gathered. The purpose of this research is to identify the extent to which the Saudi juveniles' justice system recognises minors at the courthouse. In so doing, it identifies four substantial problems: the codification of the Saudi juveniles' system, determining the age of criminal liability, categorisation of juveniles' crimes, and inconsistency in punishment. The results show some important outcomes. First, cases of Zina (adultery and fornication) are unclearly archived under the term "Fahishah" in a number of verdicts of my records. However, the term Fahishah is used interchangeably in these cases to indicate Zina (adultery), Liwa't (homosexuality) or prostitution in general. This means that there is no quality control over the classification of crimes. Similarly, the term Hirabah (highway/armed robbery) involved many sub-types that are classified Hirabah without any specific criteria given. The researcher found just 17 types already titled as Hirabah crimes. Consequently, misclassifying juvenile and punishment can be one reason for mixing juveniles’ and adults’ legal affairs, such as when juveniles' cases are transferred to the general or criminal courts without logical reason. Secondly, none of the laws pertaining to juveniles in Saudi (namely, the law requiring the provision of social observation houses for boys and care institutions for girls that was passed in 1975), has addressed the problem of the codification of the juveniles' system. The judges in juveniles’ cases have never depended on the alleged juveniles’ Nizam (i.e. law), let alone their irrelevance to juveniles' legal and judicial matters. Therefore, some juveniles were subject to capital punishment, as occurred at least three times in 2014. Thirdly, huge variations exist between statutes (for example, the age of puberty is 18 years old for boys while it is 30 years old for girls) and what is happening in reality (15 years old, or even earlier). Therefore, we see contradicted practices, such as people older than 18 years of age being prosecuted as juveniles. Moreover, juveniles were prosecuted without mentioning their ages of puberty. Further, women over 18 years old were criminally prosecuted as juveniles. Fourthly, there is no different classification for juveniles' crimes from those committed by adults in Saudi because the scale behind the classification is the punishment. Hence, the applications clearly reflect the complexity of the juveniles’ system and have led to unexpected verdicts from juveniles' judges in their decisions where, for instance, they exceeded the fixed number of lashes (i.e. if the fixed crimes' conditions were not met). Last but not least, I only found jailing and flogging in the judicial applications related to Ta'zir crimes. Other penalties such as admonition, reprimand, threat, fine and seizure of the property were dismissed or, at least mentioned in very rare cases (statistically they are not sufficient in number to be mentioned or to have been included in the SPSS analysis for this thesis). Accordingly, the tables herewith show that great inconsistencies exist in the discretionary lashes and jail punishments with regard to both genders, except with regard to fixed lashes. There were considerable differences between the discretionary lashes, fixed lashes and jail penalties with regard to the juveniles' associates, the four discretionary crimes and age groupings. However, there were no statistical differences in those three punishments with regard to the juveniles' previous convictions. Thus, I would strongly suggest that the juveniles’ justice system (e.g. crime classification and punishment) should be reorganised into distinct procedures, rather than focusing on just penalty.
Supervisor: Wali, Farhaan Sponsor: Almajmaa University ; Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available