Comparative law and justice/Saudi Arabia

From Wikiversity
Jump to: navigation, search

Part of the Comparative Law and Justice Wikiversity Project for Rhode Island College.

Scale of justice 2 new.jpeg Subject classification: this is a comparative law and justice project resource .
Flag of Saudi Arabia
Flag of Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabic: المملكة العربية السعودية, al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Suʻūdiyya) is a monarchical state which practices Shari'ah theocratic law. Saudi Arabia is populated mostly by Arab people who practice the Sunni branch of the Islamic faith. Its economy relies mostly upon the country's petroleum industry, which the state directly protects and controls. Founded by Abdul Aziz Al-Saud in 1932, Saudi Arabia has grown into one of the Middle East's most influential states due to its thriving economy and propagation of a conservative religiopolitical ideology.

Brief History[edit]

Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the founder and first King of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, alongside President of the United States of America Franklin D. Roosevelt at the close of the Yalta Conference of 1945.
Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the founder and first King of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, alongside President of the United States of America Franklin D. Roosevelt at the close of the Yalta Conference of 1945.
Saudi Arabia's coat of arms. The crossed swords represent the uniting of the Hedjazi and Najdi regions by the House of Saud as well as the alliance between the Saudi clan and Wahhabi religious movement in the early Saudi state.
Saudi Arabia's coat of arms. The crossed swords represent the uniting of the Hedjazi and Najdi regions by the House of Saud as well as the alliance between the Saudi clan and Wahhabi religious movement in the early Saudi state.

The modern state of Saudi Arabia - as opposed to the First Saudi State which existed between 1744 and 1818 as a semi-religious revolt against Ottoman rule in the region, or the Second Saudi State which existed between 1824 and 1891 as a continuation of the first revolt by the royal House of Saud - began in the early 1900's. Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, also known as Ibn Saud, was a Bedouin Arab and resident of the interior city of Riyadh. Ibn Saud had been forced into exile from the Najdi region to Kuwait by the House of Rashid, a dynastic faction opposed to his own Saudi power bloc. Ibn Saud opted to use the state stipends he garnered as a noble from the Ottoman Empire to hire and fund nomadic forces; with these, Ibn Saud raided and assaulted the Najd region from his base in exile. In 1902, he launched an attack upon his family's former seat at Riyadh and recaptured the city with less than two dozen men.

Saud bin Abdul Aziz, eldest son of Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (Ibn Saud) and second King of Saudi Arabia. After spending his early life as a fighter in his father's forces, Saud inherited the Saudi throne in 1953 and changed the state's succession laws to favor direct primogeniture from father to son as opposed to Salic law. After years of internal conflict, he was deposed in 1964 by members of the Saudi clergy and the House of Saud; he was replaced with his half-brother Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
Saud bin Abdul Aziz, eldest son of Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (Ibn Saud) and second King of Saudi Arabia. After spending his early life as a fighter in his father's forces, Saud inherited the Saudi throne in 1953 and changed the state's succession laws to favor direct primogeniture from father to son as opposed to Salic law. After years of internal conflict, he was deposed in 1964 by members of the Saudi clergy and the House of Saud; he was replaced with his half-brother Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

Saudi expansion after the recapture of Riyadh was rapid. Within the next two years, the House of Saud had recaptured much of the lands they had formerly administered up to and including Najd, a region controlled by the Rashidi. The Ottoman Empire opted to support Ibn Rashid, the leader of the House of Rashid, in militarily rebounding advancing Saudi forces; this ended shortly, as the Turks left the region to focus on growing instability in the rest of the Empire. By 1912, Abdul Aziz Al-Saud had gained much territory from the House of Rashid and had begun to move against the Hashemite Sharifate of Hedjaz, a British protectorate which held authority over the regional centers of Mecca and Medina.

Mecca in 1937, several years after Ibn Saud's conquest and the declaration of Saudi Arabia.
Mecca in 1937, several years after Ibn Saud's conquest and the declaration of Saudi Arabia.

The two-front war faced by the burgeoning Saudi did not seem to slow down Ibn Saud, who continued to gain territory by the month. After gaining British favor for his own forces, the House of Saud officially collapsed the Al-Rashidi Dynasty in 1922; by 1925, Ibn Saud had captured the Hedjaz after the Battle of Jiddah. After several diplomatic agreements with Britain, Ibn Saud managed to unite the Arabs of the region and in 1932, proclaimed his state of "Saudi Arabia" and himself King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Geographic Information[edit]

This nation is the largest state on the Arabian Peninsula at 2,149,690 square kilometers in size and it possesses the twenty-first largest amount of territory held by any nation on Earth[1]. As it is part of the Arabian Peninsula (Jazīrat Al-ʿArab, "Island of the Arabs") - a landmass at the juncture between the continents of Africa and Asia, and central to the geopolitical Middle East region - it is considered a part of Southwestern Asia by contemporary geographers[2]. Its generally undefined and porous boundaries border the United Arab Emirates to the slight northeast, Oman to the direct east, Yemen to the south and southwest, Jordan to the northwest as well as Iraq and Kuwait to the northeast[3]. Saudi Arabia also borders the Red Sea to its west and the Persian Gulf to its northeast.

Map of Saudi Arabia
Map of Saudi Arabia

Due to its positioning in a subtropical territory, the climate of Saudi Arabia can be described as one of extreme heat. The coastal cities of Jiddah, Qizan and Al-Jubayl are cooler due to their proximity to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, respectively, and experience temperatures of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit; in some cases, weather phenomenons such as monsoons are experienced on the coast as a result of climate interaction with the Indian Ocean[4]. In the country's interior, rainfall is less common than on the coast and the average temperature is approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit, though they can commonly rise to 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months[5].

Satellite image of sand dunes in the Empty Quarter.
Satellite image of sand dunes in the Empty Quarter.

Some of Saudi Arabia's more notable geographical landmarks are it deserts. These bodies of land are also referred to as ergs, the Arabic term meaning "dune fields" or "sea of dunes"; they possess larger sand dunes than other geographical regions and virtually no vegetation[6]. The Syrian Desert, which spreads across Syria, Iraq and Jordan also reaches into in the northernmost region of Saudi Arabia near the city of Al-Jawf. An-Nafud, an erg desert, spreads across the width of Saudi Arabia below the Syrian Desert. The country's interior desert, the Ad-Dahna Desert, connects the An-Nafud to the Arabian Peninsula's largest desert and one of the largest deserts in the world: the Rub' Al-Khali (Arabic for the "Empty Quarter").

Riyadh, the capital, center of government and population center of Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh, the capital, center of government and population center of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's largest cities include the capital city of Riyadh with an urban area population of 3,627,700 residents, the coastal center of Jiddah which possesses an urban population of 2,674,000 residents, Ad-Dammam with an urban population of 1,549,200 residents, the nation's religious center of Mecca at 1,541,800 residents and the historic Arabian center of Medina with 818,800 residents[7].

Based mostly around former oasis camps, Saudi Arabia's population is spread out drastically between population centers; in 2005, there were approximately 12 people per square kilometer in Saudi Arabia[8].

Politics and Government[edit]

Former American president George W. Bush alongside King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Former American president George W. Bush alongside King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's government is best described as an absolute monarchy. It is currently led by Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques; he acts as both head of government as well as head of state. The Saudi family, as headed by whoever is the leader at that time has full control over all government apparatuses and may act unchallenged by any other authority in the state. The authority of the government lies within several spheres: the opinions of the Saudi family as well as the ulama - Islamic scholars and officials - are starkly important for the current monarch, as the family and its religious supporters has proven able to remove those they feel unsuitable for rule from power. Saud bin Abdul Aziz, the second monarch in Saudi Arabia's history, is an example of this: he was forced out of his position due to his perceived inability to rule when opposed by the pan-Arabism of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser[9] In terms of the ulama's authority, the Qur'an is the declared constitution of Saudi Arabia - a factor not only displays the source of Saudi Arabia's legal system but also gives those who support it and execute it a large amount of political power due to their knowledge of Islamic law. In 1992, the monarchy made attempts at forming a Saudi legal code to work alongside the Qur'an, formalizing it as the nizam or "lead code" of the state[10]. It disallowed arbitrary arrests and basic government abuses but did not guarantee the rights of Saudi subjects to personal freedoms or political participation[11].

In Saudi Arabia, officials are appointed by members of the royal family and are usually also aristocrats themselves. Just below the monarch is the Royal Diwan, the kingdom's top executive office which concerns itself with matters of state including the regulation of Saudi politics, foreign relations and Islamic law; government departments including all wings devoted to Islamic propagation and religious doctrine reside within the Royal Diwan, as do the top officials within the "Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice", Saudi Arabia's religious police force[12]. The Council of Ministers (founded in 1953) functions as a form of bureaucratic cabinet for the King and contains several executive-appoint offices such as Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, two Ministers of State and twenty general Ministers. Below the Council of Ministers is the Civil Service and Independent Agencies Board, which is responsible overlooking the state-owned economic companies such as Saudi AramCo as well as civil service projects concerning infrastructure and resources.

Local government consists of fourteen geographically distributed provinces ("emirates"), each with a governor ("emir") who answers to the Minister of the Interior and is appointed by the sovereign. Town mayors, deputy emirs and other local officials are all ultimately appointed by the emir or an executive official. The districts resided over by the emirs include:

Current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin alongside Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Current Crown Prince.
Current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin alongside Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Emir of Ar-Riyadh from 1962 until the present.
  • Al-Bahah
  • Al-Hudud Ash-Shamaliyah
  • Al-Jawf
  • Al-Madinah
  • Al-Qasim
  • Al-Qurayyat
  • Ar-Riyadh
Current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia.
Current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia.
  • Ash-Sharqiyah
  • Asir
  • Hail
  • Jizan
  • Makkah
  • Najran
  • Tabuk

Elections are largely nonexistent throughout the kingdom's history, although local municipal elections were in 2005 - over 50 years since the prior elections - with male citizens over the age of 21 eligible to vote. The 2009 elections, promised by the state as a move toward recognizing not only calls for political reform but also for the participation of women in Saudi politics, were canceled without explanation. It is also worth noting that political parties are completely banned in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi family - which amounts to approximately twenty thousand people[13] retains true power within the government, and tend to actually populate all government positions from the Council of Ministers down to the various emirates which make up the country's districts. Political alliances between family members and sub-clans are common and ensure the political clout of prominent statesmen such as King Abdullah.

Population Characteristics[edit]

The total population of Saudi Arabia stands at approximately 28,686,633 in a July 2009 estimate. This statistic includes the over five million residents who are not formal citizens of the country while still residing there[14]. Over a third (38%) of Saudi Arabia's population is the under the age of fourteen years, while the rest of the population (52%) range from fifteen years of age and higher with the country's median age at about twenty-two years[15].

Saudi Arabia's gender ratio prefers males: there are 1.05 males to females at birth, 1.04 males to females under the age of fourteen, almost 1.30 males aged fifteen to sixty-four to females aged the same and 1.06 males to females above the age of sixty five[16]. Infant mortality rates stand, by a 2009 estimate, at 13.15 deaths for every 1,000 male births and 9.91 deaths for every 1,000 female births; life expectancies average at 76.3 years but stand at 74.23 years for males and 78.48 for females, putting Saudi Arabia in the sixty-ninth spot on the list of highest life expectancies[17][18].

Most (82%) of Saudi Arabia's residents - and more (2.5%) every year - can be found in urban areas due to the harshness of the outlying territory and the potential for economic prosperity within urban areas such as Riyadh and Jiddah[19].

Literacy and education of Saudi residents are a growing focus of the Saudi government, which is attempting to bolster these qualities in order to assist in the transformation of its economy[20]. 78.8% of the total Saudi population is literate by the state's definition with a notable gap in literacy between the genders (84.7% males versus 70.8% females) in accordance with a 2003 study[21].

Ethnic Information[edit]

Bedouin falconer with camel.
Bedouin falconer with camel.

Saudi Arabia's major ethnic group (approx. 87% of the population) are the Saudi Arabs, a Semitic people who have lived in region for thousands of years. This group is divided into several different strands within Saudi Arabia. The two major groups are the modernized urban Arabs and those with Bedouin - nomadic or otherwise pastoral - cultural roots, including those of western Saudi Arabia in the Hedjaz historic region[22].

Countries which belong to the Arab League, a multinational organization that recognizes each member state as one populated mostly by Arabs.
Countries which belong to the Arab League, a multinational organization that recognizes each member state as one populated mostly by Arabs.

Not included within these two groups are immigrants from other ethnic Arab countries or territories with separate cultural identities such as Egyptians Arabs, Palestinian Arabs, Lebanese Arabs, Yemeni Arabs (Mahra), Omani Arabs (Shahara) and Syrian Arabs. Non-Arabic peoples, too, populate Saudi Arabia: Persians (0.7%), Africans (1.6%) and Asians (9.6%) as well as Europeans (0.3%) and Americans (0.2%) make up notable minorities in Saudi Arabia[23]. Many of these minorities migrated to Saudi Arabia in a search for employment and occupy the position of 'foreign worker' to the Saudi state due to their inability to gain citizenship[24].

Linguistic Information[edit]

Countries which utilize the Arabic language and alphabet - dark green are the states which have nominated Arabic as the official script and states labeled light green which have named Arabic as semi-official or regional.
Countries which utilize the Arabic language and alphabet - dark green are the states which have nominated Arabic as the official script and states labeled light green which have named Arabic as semi-official or regional.

Arabic is by far the most popularly used language in Saudi Arabia[25]. Arabic has been formally name Saudi Arabia's official language and is used on all official documents and correspondences[26]. Within this lingual framework, Najdi Arabic (approx. eight million speakers) and Hedjazi Arabic (approx. six million speakers) are the two most spoken forms of Arabic in the country with Gulf Arabic trailing far behind[27].

Beyond Arabic, languages such as Tagalog (3.8%), Urdu (2.2%) and several languages from the Indian sub-continent (0.7%) make up the largest non-Semitic percentages[28].

Religious Demographics[edit]

The most prominent religion in Saudi Arabia is Islam (approx. 90%-99%), specifically of the more mainstream and globally accepted Sunni branch (approx. 76%). Many Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia follow the state-supported Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence - the most conservative school of Islamic legal interpretation[29]. Sunni Islam is the state's official religion and courts revolving around Shari'ah (Islamic legal doctrine) are the nation's main legal system. In the past, the state has sponsored a particularly conservative interpretation of Islam referred to as Wahhabism, an ideology best described as a strand of the Islamic ideology of Salafism, which stresses the purity of the first few generations of Muslims as led by Muhammad. Wahhabism emphasizes the emulation of such individuals due to their personal righteousness and unfaltering support of Islam, maintaining that a conservative interpretation of the Qur'an (Islamic holy text) and the Hadith (recorded statements of Muhammad) will lead to a similar religious purity. These conservative beliefs have roots with the initial rise of the House of Saud during the First Saudi State as they were originally the ideas of Muhammad ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab, a Nejdi Islamic scholar of the 1700's who allied with the Saudi Dynasty during their early days of nomadism. A distinct Wahhabi belief is a denouncing of bid'ah (Arabic for "innovation"), acts which are not distinctly mentioned in either the Qur'an or the Hadith; such practices include Sufism, a regionally-varying Islamic folk movement based on Islamic mysticism and the importance of spiritual leaders or saints.

Road signs in Saudi Arabia, dictating religious segregation using both Arabic and English written languages.
Road signs in Saudi Arabia, dictating religious segregation using both Arabic and English written languages.

There also exists a nominal (15%) percentage of Shi'ah Muslims - a religious group focused largely around Iraq, Iran and Pakistan - who face marginalization and harassment by the conservative Sunni authorities of Saudi Arabia[30]. This harassment is due to the Saudi association of Shi'ah Islam - a belief system which differs theologically and historically from their own - with foreign powers such as Iran, a regionally powerful state which has been considered a religious counterweight or rival to Saudi Arabia's promotion of conservative Sunni Islam due to their funding of revolutionary Shi'ah Islam[31].

Non-Islamic faith denominations which make up slightly notable religious minorities in Saudi Arabia include Christianity (3.5%), Hinduism (0.6%) and Baha'i (approx. 1%)[32]. However, the public declaration or practicing of faiths that are non-Islamic is banned by Saudi theocratic law and, in some cases, non-Muslims who challenge this ruling have been forced to publicly convert to Islam or face state punishment[33].

Persecution of religious minority groups in Saudi Arabia is fairly common. Religious authorities known as the mutawi'iyn (Arabic for "subjugated people") enforce the state religious doctrine and have been known to target non-Muslims minorities including Christians in their work[34]. Religious segregation is commonplace in Saudi Arabia, as non-Muslims are not allowed within the urban boundaries of Mecca and Medina due to their positions as holy cities within the Islamic faith. Non-Muslims attempting to enter either locale can be either fined or deported, depending on the conditions[35]. In the past, followers of Judaism have actually been banned from entering the country altogether[36] although this statute has been largely unenforced.

Economic Development[edit]

Saudi Arabia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is approximately $576.5 billion (US) dollars according to a 2008 estimate, placing it as twenty-third in the listing of the world's highest GDP; per capita, Saudi Arabia's GDP is about $20,500 (US) dollars which places it as the one hundred and second highest per capita GDP nation[37].

The headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum extractor and distributor, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
The headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum extractor and distributor, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of petroleum, as the country holds over 20% of the world's oil reserves; the economy revolves around this industry and the government exerts a strong regulatory hand over the industry[38]. Petroleum is thus the country's largest export - responsible for 80% of the state's annual income and 45% of its total GDP - and dominates the general Saudi Arabian export market[39]. In order to stabilize their economy, the Saudi government has begun promoting its private sector as a means of balancing out the impact of the oil industry; thus, fields such as service sector and telecommunications are beginning to grow and assist in the lessening of Saudi Arabia's high unemployment[40]. Saudi Arabia's recent participation in the Word Trade Organization has been seen as an attempt to further expand the country's emerging fields of business[41].


To facilitate the growth of these new industries, Saudi Arabia is constructing what will be six new "economic cities" in various places across the country as hubs for new business and trade[42]. Foreign workers from nations such as Turkey, India and China have been working for several years on the restructuring of the city of Rabigh for increased economic input; although based currently on oil production, the city is being planned with the production of raw materials for export in order to increase the potential for Saudi Arabia to become an "economic powerhouse"[43].

Religious pilgrims on the Plains of Arafat during the Hajj outside of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Religious pilgrims on the Plains of Arafat during the Hajj outside of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

A unique aspect of Saudi Arabia's economy is its role as a focal point of religious pilgrimage. In accordance with Islam, millions[44] of Muslims make the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in accordance with Islamic tradition every year. The Hajj is one of the "Pillars of Islam" - important religious rules which support the faith - and is largely thought to be required by every Muslim as long as they are able to accomplish the trip. As the largest annual pilgrimage in the world[45], the Hajj naturally has a notable impact upon Mecca's tourism and service economies. In preparation for the event - which usually occurs sometime between October and January - the Saudi government devotes billions of dollars to yearly infrastructure, medical services and public safety to ensure the stability of the event and the safety of both its participants and the residents of the two involved cities[46].

Legal System and Courts[edit]

Saudi Arabia's legal system is based largely on Shari'ah theocratic doctrine, a body of law which emerged during the Rashidun Caliphate of the mid-seventh century. It adapted over time to fit more contemporary issues, technologies and social constructs but remains a generally conservative body of law which promotes strict adherence to Islam over all other practices. The state promotes a legal opinion based in the Islamic jurisprudential school known as the Hanbali fiqh. Hanbali is largely regarded as the most conservative school of Islamic legal interpretation[47] and its interpretation of Islamic law is regarded as possessing harsher punishments than other schools of jurisprudence.

A document in Arabic language detailing the proper punishment for apostasy, as issued by the Al-Azhar University's Fatwa Council; it is worth noting that the institution issuing this document does not practice Saudi Arabia's Hanbali fiqh but the Shafi'i fiqh, a similarly conservative school of jurisprudence.
A document in Arabic language detailing the proper punishment for apostasy, as issued by the Al-Azhar University's Fatwa Council; it is worth noting that the institution issuing this document does not practice Saudi Arabia's Hanbali fiqh but the Shafi'i fiqh, a similarly conservative school of jurisprudence.

As Saudi law relies heavily on Shari'ah, it is thus a substantive legal system due to its position as a statutory, written doctrine which defines the role of the state as well as the rights (to a point) of the people. Saudi legal cases do not fit the textbook definitions of adversarial or inquisitorial - they function within the specific realm of Islamic law and all cases are judged under the established Hanbali precedents as assisted by Islamic scholars referred to as the ulama[48] However, Reichel also makes the comment that Saudi Arabia leans toward inquisitorial in its legal methods even within its Islamic legal framework.[49]

The primary actors in the court are the the qadis - religiously-trained judges versed in Shari'ah - as well as the prosecuted and those who defend them such as lawyers (who are also usually trained in Islamic law). Juries have no role in Saudi courts, as the decisions are passed down by an Islamic judge with few outside sources impacting the legal conclusion of the case. In Saudi Arabia, the courts are not an independent entity but exist within the political realm of Saudi Arabia - its officials actively participate in Saudi court politics[50]. While the courts are officially headed by the Minister of Justice, who looks over the more than three hundred Shari'ah courts in Saudi Arabia and is a representative of the nation's highest-educated ulama or religious scholars, administrative roles are also filled in by the Minister of Justice-appointed Supreme Judicial Council, an organization whose members work as supervisors to major cases and must be addressed and personally referenced in order to follow up on court decisions which assign capital punishment or corporal punishment as a result[51]. Below these legal supervisors are the qadis themselves, individuals who are selected from the highest-educated religious scholars in Saudi Arabia by the Ministry of Justice[52]; these people act as the judges for cases which go through regional courts. In serious cases, particularly those which may result in the assigning of corporal punishment or capital punishment - such as murder, rape or elevated levels of theft - may be overseen by as many as three qadis at once[53].

Non-Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia occupy a unique position within the Saudi legal format. While Shi'ah Muslims are allowed to use their own religious rules to determine non-criminal cases - albeit as interpreted by Saudi judges - foreign residents and non-Muslims must still bring their case up before the qadi-headed Shari'ah court[54];. Outside of seldomly-used secular tribunals, there is no other form of legal recourse for non-Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

Appeals in Saudi Arabia are not addressed by the senior judges of the Supreme Judicial Council. They are moved to a seperate court of appeals which determines the possibility and validity of all appeals[55]. The King's decree is the highest form of appeal within the Kingdom, and the sovereign has been called upon by foreign organizations to utilize this privilege in bettering the image of Saudi Arabia in pertinence to its use of corporal punishment and capital punishment[56].

Secular courts do exist in Saudi Arabia but fulfill specialized roles. Establishable only by the royal decree of the reigning monarch, these non-Shari'ah courts deal with cases relating to motor vehicles and government grievances. In addition, internal ministries may have their own courts appointed: the Ministry of the Interior possesses its own courts in dealing with legal issues pertaining to their police forces, and labor disputes are brought before the courts of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs[57]. These special tribunals have begun to gain new prominence as of October 2009, as the Saudi courts have vowed to move in a more secular direction as a means of better accommodating foreign commercial involvement in the Kingdom's affairs and for the purpose of streamlining the Saudi legal process[58].

The effectiveness of judicial review in Saudi Arabia is not up to par with the standards of the Human Rights Watch, which claims that the country has submitted prisoners to reeducation programs and have denied rights to free trials in the first place as opposed to submit to the concept of judicial review [59] Government agencies have actually moved to block judicial review from occurring despite reforms promoted by the current monarch to move in such a direction, making the review process difficult to initiate.

It is interesting to note that the courts are regarded as, despite being political, one of the few aspects of Saudi society and government that is not dominated by the personal politics of the House of Saud[60].

Citizenship and Family Law[edit]

Saudi citizenship is granted on a strict basis; it is required for any person to remain a contender in legal cases pertaining to inheritance, marriage and other family law issues. Those who are born in Saudi Arabia and those who have lived there as registered residents are able to acquire citizenship if they can prove membership in a local Islamic community, and sponsors are also required in gaining citizenship. Those who gain citizenship, however, are often subjected to ridicule due to their immigrant status and are sometimes labeled 'counterfeit Saudis'[61]. Women can obtain citizenship and foreign women who marry Saudi men often consider it a boon, as they are not otherwise in legal control of their residency and can be deported at the request of their husbands[62].

Family law in Saudi Arabia is based around traditional regional tribal custom. Families are strongly patrilineal and the roles of women within society and family decision making is markedly low due to both cultural gender conservatism and the strict Islamic statutes under which Saudi Arabia operates. Marriage laws are secular, as opposed to sacramental as they are in other Islamic countries; dowries are still a common practice in Saudi Arabia as well, amounting to large amounts of money[63]. Children of Saudi couples are largely considered the effective property of the father with the mother possessing little or no influence over their behavior or lives[64]. According to Quranic and Saudi law, men are permitted to marry up to four women as long as they are financially able to support their entire family and this does occur in Saudi Arabia. Divorce is a decision executable only by Saudi men - and thus an issue which may result in a change of the initial dowry - and may result in the legal separation of Saudi mothers from their children in pertinence to inheritance and other court matters[65].

The state has actively taken steps to prevent its own citizens from marrying foreigners and bringing outside elements into the country, leading to criticism from the press on the subject of the possibility that the banning of marriage to foreign individuals could lead to punishment of some sort for those Saudis who engage in it[66]. Recent controversy and international questioning over the legitimacy of Saudi marriage and family laws, mostly based around the question of the minimum age of a bride in state-sanctioned marriages, have led to Saudi Arabia's promise to reform marriage and family law[67].

Saudi inheritance laws revolve around Shari'ah law with some secular twists. Generally speaking, non-Muslims may not inherit from Muslims in Saudi Arabia and the legitimacy of wills and inheritance must be determined by religious court officials[68]. In a recent event, gender roles have been taken into consideration by Saudi courts: a transsexual Saudi won a legal case in defending his given inheritance from his siblings, who demanded that his inheritance be dropped by 50% due to his behavior. The court disagreed, stating that the inheritance had been granted before the man's gender switch and closed the case[69].

Law Enforcement[edit]

1911 photograph of Ibn Saud's Ikhwan forces, which initially fulfilled the role that would later be taken over by both the Military of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Public Security Forces.
1911 photograph of Ibn Saud's Ikhwan forces, which initially fulfilled the role that would later be taken over by both the Military of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Public Security Forces.

According to Philip Reichel's Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach, Saudi Arabia's police structure is representative of the text's "centralized single police force" as there exists one police force, run with an emphasis on state as opposed to local influence, which is applied to all acts of law enforcement within the state[70].

It is important to note the relationship between the Saudi police and military forces. As both are branches of the same state apparatus - the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia, although to different Ministries (the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense, respectively) - the two forces have been known to work hand-in-hand in dealing with both criminal activity as well as population control[71]. Thus, the military and police work to compliment one another in dealing with problems faced by the state.

The structure of Saudi Arabia's police force has one dominant branch with two smaller yet important offshoots. Saudi Arabia's main policing force, the Public Security Forces, was brought about in its modern form in the 1960's, after heavy reform in the direct away from its initial existence as a tribally-influenced militia system[72]. This structure works primary as a reactive entity, pursuing criminals and dealing with the results of crime. A smaller branch, the Investigative Police Force, works in a similar manner but uses elements of espionage in its practice. This has resulted in it being labeled a "secret" or state undercover police force by some sources[73]. The third division in the Saudi Arabian police force is the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and and the Prevention of Vice - Saudi Arabia's religious and moral police force - as staffed by the mutawi'iyn, officers trained in conservative Islamic legal precedents and law enforcement. As the Saudi state was founded on religious ideals and the Kingdom maintains the Qur'an as its constitution, Islamic legal figures prominently into how the nation functions on a day to day basis and the mutawi'iyn are extensions of this. Although they hold staunchly high authority over other branches of law enforcement, the Saudi religious police have had their powers curtailed slightly over the last decade as a result of international pressure stemming from harshly-regarded legal decisions[74].

Human Rights[edit]

Nominally, human rights in Saudi Arabia are protected by the kingdom's legal adherence to Shari'ah law[75]. Generally speaking, human rights in Saudi Arabia are considered destitute and nearly nonexistant: the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia states that the kingdom's discriminatory practices cause great difficulty for females, non-Muslim religious minorities and any dissenters to Saudi authority[76]. Human Rights Watch reports that Saudi Arabia actively persecutes its Shi'ah religious minorities, including arrests of religious leaders and repeated police closures of Shi'ah mosques[77].

Domestic workers are also subject to discrimination and abuse by their employers and although Saudi Arabia has taken steps to alleviate their conditions, their efforts rest far below the expected global standard[78]. Human Rights Watch also reports that Saudi Arabia has committed numerous acts against their own citizens, in violation of international law, in order to further the state's counter-terrorism message[79].

As a result of the state's conservative interpretation of Islamic law, standards toward women and homosexuals are very strict - women are actively discriminated against in public and government settings while homosexuals are, if discovered guilty of their sexual preference in Shari'ah court, executed[80]. The state claims to be making strides toward bridging the gender gap through traditional values, citing the high number of women in Saudi educational institutions. The government refused to respond to the impact that the legal inability of women to drive or vote in local elections may have on this process[81]. In addition, promises by the Saudi government to decrease the number of incidents in which a woman requires a man's permission to engage in an activity - including both surgery and local travel - have not been addressed in a timely manner[82].

Although Islamic law provides a standard for basic social equality and gender equality as stated with the Quran[83], Saudi Arabia does not regard this view as legitimate and thus does not profess it.


Criminal Statistics[edit]

Over the course of the last few years, crime "has risen dramatically in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but continues to remain at levels below most major metropolitan areas in the United States"[84]. Typical crimes include assault - reported 13,864 times annually in comparison to the United States' annual reporting of 2,238,480 occurrences - as well as car theft (18,717 reports compared to the American report of 1,246,096), which occur with an insistence that has led to its reporting by the US Bureau of Consular Affairs as a crime of consistency against visitors to the Saudi state[85][86].

Key crimes such as homicide and general theft are moderate to low in comparison to other nations. Homicide is reported at a rate of 202 per year (approx. 0.004 per 1,000 people), placing Saudi Arabia as 28th out of 49 reporting nations[87]. In 2002, theft represented 47% of the crime in Saudi Arabia while still remaining generally low in comparison to more metropolitan states; the US Bureau of Consular Affairs lists it as an incident experienced by a number of tourists or other visitors to Saudi Arabia[88][89].

Countries with Shari'ah law. Saudi Arabia utilizes it on the state level and in dealing with most criminal cases.
Countries with Shari'ah law. Saudi Arabia utilizes it on the state level and in dealing with most criminal cases.

Corruption stands as a moderate issue in Saudi Arabia. Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Saudi Arabia as 80 out of 180, placing it just below the midpoint of measured corruption[90]. According to their 2009 measurement,corruption in Saudi Arabia does not have any particular focal point in the country - law enforcement is affected but is not extreme, nor is corruption in the private sector - in comparison to other states[91]. Saudi Arabia's police have been known to detain travelers for lengthy amounts of time due to their participation in criminal cases, and in some incidents have retained any items taken from those detained for their own personal gain[92].

Rape is a complicated issue in Saudi Arabian crime statistics. Rape is reportedly low, at 59 reported cases per year[93]. The low number of reported rapes may be due to the harsh sentences meted out by the state to rape victims, who are considered, by Saudi Arabia's interpretation of Shari'ah theocratic doctrine, as partially responsible for the conditions leading up to their own rape[94]. In one case, a rape victim titled the "Girl of Qatif" was sentenced for a second time after voicing her displeasure with the treatment she received by Saudi courts; the punishment was doled out in lashes, per Saudi Arabia's Islamic legal interpretation, in addition to prison time[95]. In addition, marital rape - an act largely unclassified as a crime in much of the the world's countries - is an issue in Saudi Arabia, with 93% of polled women reporting such problems in a 2007 survey[96]. For these reasons, rape may be reported at levels significantly less than they actually occur in Saudi Arabia.

Human trafficking. Main origin countries of trafficked people (red) and destination countries for trafficked people (blue).
Human trafficking. Main origin countries of trafficked people (red) and destination countries for trafficked people (blue).

Saudi Arabia is regarded as a hub for human trafficking within the Afro-Asian sphere[97]. South Asians and Southeast Asians voluntarily move from their homes to Saudi Arabia looking for employment, while others from the same regions as well as the African continent and other Arab states are moved involuntarily to Saudi Arabia for participation in practices comparable to slavery, including sex slavery[98]. According to the US Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking [of humans]", which greatly complicates its legal grounds due to a serious lack of reporting of the crime[99].

In addition to Saudi Arabia's lack of legal regard for human trafficking is the state's procedure in dealing with crimes committed by both illegal and foreign workers. The method in which the Saudi courts deal with crimes - particularly capital crimes - committed by foreign workers in Saudi Arabia has been regarded as overly harsh, resulting in foreign workers receiving much harsher penalties (including the death penalty in comparison to Saudi nationals[100].

Punishment and Prisons[edit]

Corporal and capital punishment are used in enforcing Saudi law. The Saudi death sentence can be applied to cases including smuggling, armed robbery, homicide, acts of adultery and rape[101]. Apostasy from the state religion, Islam, is also a crime by Saudi standards and is punishable with the death sentence[102]. While capital punishment is usually put to use through beheading by sword or in some cases stoning - done in a public setting, at Deera Square in the capital city of Riyadh[103] - corporal punishments are issued with the use of a whip to inflict lashes upon the convicted criminal or criminals. Caning is also put to use as a punishment in Saudi Arabia for crimes including very mild forms of religious apostasy or misconduct and acts of "public misconduct"[104].

Saudi Arabia's rate of use for the death penalty has amounted in much criticism for the kingdom. According to Hands Off Cain, Saudi Arabia put capital punishment to use in its various forms at least one hundred times in 2008[105]. Saudi Arabia's policy policy of executing juvenile offenders is controversial, and places it among other states such as China and Iran which receive large amounts of international protest as a result of theur use of execution as a punishment against younger criminals[106].

Use of the death penalty. Nations marked blue do not enforce the death penalty, nations marked light yellow do not enforce the death penalty in peace time, nations marked dark yellow do not enforce the death penalty in practice while retaining it in penal code, nations marked brown enforce the death penalty. Saudi Arabia falls into the last category.
Use of the death penalty. Nations marked blue do not enforce the death penalty, nations marked light yellow do not enforce the death penalty in peace time, nations marked dark yellow do not enforce the death penalty in practice while retaining it in penal code, nations marked brown enforce the death penalty. Saudi Arabia falls into the last category.

In some cases, specific types of corporal punishments, including legal decisions which reflect Hammurabi's Law of "vengeful" physical harm such as the removal of a criminal's eye in return for his wounding of a person, are enforced by Saudi courts[107]. The convicted, a migrant worker, had wounded a Saudi citizen in a 2003 fight; instead of receiving a monetary compensation as the court orders in some assault cases, the victim demanded that Shari'ah law be put to use and the migrant worker was convicted through it[108].

Saudi Arabia's prison systems have incurred many pleas for reform from international organizations. According to the Library of Congress, overcrowding and mistreatment are common in Saudi prisons - as up to 200 prisoners would be asigned to one room without any bedding - and malnourishment is constant due to underfeeding of prison residents[109]. Medical treatment is not attended to properly, according to some prisoners, and the lack of activities for prisoners to spend time on has led to further criticism and shows a lack of focus on rehabilitation[110]. Terance D. Miethe and Hong Lu reported Saudi Arabia's imprisonment rates as 45 persons out of 1,000 persons in 2005 - a number considered low by the authors in comparison to other Muslim nations such as Lebanon and Iran[111].

While the Library of Congress states that violence is low among the prison population, authorities have been known to engage in physical violence against male prisoners including foreign citizens; Ron Jones, a non-Saudi who was convicted of executing a car bombing in Riyadh, reported constant physical abuse in order to extract his confession[112]. Allegations of torture have also risen from critics of the Saudi prison system: the Human Rights Watch issued a demand for reform upon the leak of a video which depicted Saudi prison guards effectively torturing and physically debilitating inmates[113].

While Saudi Arabia's apparent focus is on imprisonment as opposed to rehabilitation, special cases have been made for certain inmates. The kingdom's capture and convinction of al-Qaeda operatives led to its announcement that those specific criminals would be rehabilitated through a complex and well-developed program executed through the use of new prison facilities meant specifically for high-security prisoners[114].

See Also[edit]

External Links[edit]

Works Cited[edit]

  1. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Country Comparison: Area." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2147rank.html
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica, "Arabia (peninsula, Asia)." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https:http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/31551/Arabia
  3. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Geography." Website accessed 10/11/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/14.htm.
  4. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Climate." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/16.htm.
  5. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Climate." Website accessed 10/11/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/16.htm.
  6. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Desert Guide, "Summary: Sand Seas/Ergs/Dune Fields." Website accessed 10/11/2009, http://www.agc.army.mil/research/products/desert_guide/lsmsheet/lsseas.htm
  7. Rhett Butler. 2007. Mongabay.com, "Largest Cities in Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/Saudi Arabia.htm
  8. Rapid Intelligence. 2005. NationMaster.com, "NationMaster - Time Series > Geography > Population Density > people per sq. km > Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, http://www.nationmaster.com/time.php?stat=geo_pop_den_peo_per_sq_km-density-people-per-sq-km&country=sa-saudi-arabia
  9. 1981. W. Quandt. Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institute.
  10. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Structure of Government." Website accessed 10/16/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/46.htm.
  11. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Structure of Government." Website accessed 10/16/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/46.htm.
  12. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - The Royal Diwan." Website accessed 10/16/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/48.htm.
  13. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Politics." Website accessed 10/16/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/53.htm.
  14. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  15. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  16. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  17. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/12/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  18. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Country Comparison :: Life expectancy at birth." Website accessed 10/12/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html?countryName=Saudi%20Arabia&countryCode=sa&regionCode=me&rank=69#sa
  19. Central Intelligence Agency. 2008, 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  20. Central Intelligence Agency. 2008, 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/12/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  21. Central Intelligence Agency. 2008, 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  22. Tore Kjeilen. 2009. Looklex Encyclopaedia, "Saudi Arabia / Peoples." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://i-cias.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.peoples.htm
  23. Tore Kjeilen. 2009. Looklex Encyclopaedia, "Saudi Arabia / Peoples." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://i-cias.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.peoples.htm
  24. Tore Kjeilen. 2009. Looklex Encyclopaedia, "Saudi Arabia / Peoples." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://i-cias.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.peoples.htm
  25. Paul Lewis. 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=SA
  26. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  27. Paul Lewis. 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=SA
  28. Tore Kjeilen. 2009. Looklex Encyclopaedia, "Saudi Arabia / Languages." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://i-cias.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.languages.htm
  29. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007. International Religious Freedom Report 2007, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90220.htm
  30. Lionel Beehner. 2006. Council on Foreign Relations, "Shia Muslims in the Mideast." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.cfr.org/publication/10903/shiite_muslims_in_the_middle_east.html
  31. Mai Yamani. 2009. Qantara.de: Dialogue with the Islamic World, "Saudi Arabia's Shia: An Uprising of the Marginalized." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://en.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-476/_nr-1131/i.html
  32. Tore Kjeilen. 2009. Looklex Encyclopaedia, "Saudi Arabia / Religions." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://i-cias.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.religions.htm
  33. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007. International Religious Freedom Report 2007, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90220.htm
  34. 2006. AsiaNews.it, "Catholic Priest arrested and expelled from Riyadh." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=5869
  35. Sandra Mackey. 1987. The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. New York City, New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  36. 2004. CNN, "Jews Barred, said Saudi Web site." Website accessed on 10/11/09, http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/02/28/visa.flap/index.html
  37. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  38. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  39. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  40. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  41. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  42. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  43. Jad Mouawad. The New York Times, "The Construction Site Called Saudi Arabia - New York Times." Website accessed 10/13/09, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/business/worldbusiness/20saudi.html?_r=1
  44. David E. Long. 2003. Saudi-US Relations Information Service, "Saudi Arabia - David Long - Impact of the Hajj." Website accessed on 10/12/2009, http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/articles/2007/ioi/071216-long-hajj.html
  45. Debopriya Bose. 2009. Buzzle.com, "The Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca." Website accessed on 10/12/2009, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-hajj-pilgrimage-to-mecca.html
  46. David E. Long. 2003. Saudi-US Relations Information Service, "Saudi Arabia - David Long - Impact of the Hajj." Website accessed on 10/12/2009, http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/articles/2007/ioi/071216-long-hajj.html
  47. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007. International Religious Freedom Report 2007, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/11/2009, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90220.htm
  48. 2008. Philip J. Reichel. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall.
  49. 2008. Philip J. Reichel. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall.
  50. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - The Legal System." Website accessed 10/30/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/51.htm.
  51. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - The Legal System." Website accessed 10/30/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/51.htm.
  52. Bernard J. Hibbits. 2003. JURIST Legal Intelligence, "Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian Law, Legal Research, Human Rights." Website accessed on 10/30/2009, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/saudiarabia.htm
  53. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - The Legal System." Website accessed 10/30/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/51.htm.
  54. Bernard J. Hibbits. 2003. JURIST Legal Intelligence, "Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian Law, Legal Research, Human Rights." Website accessed on 10/30/2009, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/saudiarabia.htm
  55. Bernard J. Hibbits. 2003. JURIST Legal Intelligence, "Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian Law, Legal Research, Human Rights." Website accessed on 10/30/2009, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/saudiarabia.htm
  56. 2008. Can Tran. GroundReport, "Human Rights Watch Appeals to Saudi King to Nullify Execution of 'Witch." Website accessed on 10/30/2009, http://www.groundreport.com/World/Human-Rights-Watch-Appeals-To-Saudi-King-To-Nullif/2855589
  57. U.S. Library of Congress. 1992. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - The Legal System." Website accessed 10/30/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/51.htm.
  58. AMEinfo. 2007. AMEinfo.com, "Saudis move to modernise legal system." Website accessed on 10/30/2009, http://www.ameinfo.com/134904.html
  59. 2009. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Counterterrorism Efforts Violate Rights." Website accessed on 10/16/2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/08/04/saudi-arabia-counterterrorism-efforts-violate-rights.
  60. BBC News. 2000. BBC News: World Edition, Africa, "The many faces of Sharia." Website accessed 10/30/2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/621126.stm
  61. 2009. Siraj Wahab. Arab News, "It's another kind of Saudization." Website accessed on 11/12/2009, http://arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=124999&d=30&m=7&y=2009
  62. 2009. Siraj Wahab. Arab News, "It's another kind of Saudization." Website accessed on 11/12/2009, http://arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=124999&d=30&m=7&y=2009
  63. 1992. U.S. Library of Congress. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Cultural Homogeneity and Values." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/21.htm.
  64. 1992. U.S. Library of Congress. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Cultural Homogeneity and Values." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/21.htm.
  65. 1992. U.S. Library of Congress. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, "Saudi Arabia - Cultural Homogeneity and Values." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/21.htm.
  66. 2006. Abeer Mishkhas. Arab News, "Punishing Saudis for Marrying Foreigners is Absurd." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=89352&d=30&m=11&y=2006
  67. 2009. Peter Harrison. Maktoob News, "Saudi marriage laws may change within a year." Website accessed on 11/12/2009, http://business.maktoob.com/20090000001567/Saudi_marriage_laws_may_change_within_a_year/Article.htm
  68. 2006. Global Property Guide, "Saudi Arabia: Inheritance." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Middle-East/Saudi-Arabia/Inheritance
  69. 2004. Colin Freeman. Telegraph.co.uk, "Saudi judge rules for transsexual in family fight over inheritance." Website accessed 11/12/2009, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/1478291/Saudi-judge-rules-for-transsexual-in-family-fight-over-inheritance.html
  70. Philip Reichel. 2008. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall.
  71. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Law Enforcement." Website accessed 10/25/2009, https://archive.is/20121213165516/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0136).
  72. Maps of the World. InfoBase - Maps of the World, "Saudi Arabia Police." Website accessed 10/25/2009, http://www.mapsofworld.com/saudi-arabia/information/police.html
  73. Maps of the World. InfoBase - Maps of the World, "Saudi Arabia Police." Website accessed 10/25/2009, http://www.mapsofworld.com/saudi-arabia/information/police.html
  74. Arab Reform Bulletin. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Saudi Arabia - Reduced Powers for Morality Police." Website accessed 10/25/2009, http://www.carnegieendowment.org/arb/?fa=show&article=20824
  75. 2005. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2004 Reports on Human Rights Practices, "Near East and North Africa - Saudi Arabia." Accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41731.htm
  76. 2006. The Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia Today." Website accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.cdhr.info/Articles/SaudiArabiaToday
  77. 2009. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Treat Shia Equally." Website accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/02/saudi-arabia-treat-shia-equally
  78. 2009. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Shura Council Passes Domestic Worker Protections." Website accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/10/saudi-arabia-shura-council-passes-domestic-worker-protections
  79. 2009. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Counterterrorism Efforts Violate Rights." Website accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/08/04/saudi-arabia-counterterrorism-efforts-violate-rights
  80. 2007. Kimberly West. Associated Content, "Homosexuality on the Rise in Saudi Arabia." Accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/225905/homosexuality_on_the_rise_in_saudi.html
  81. 2007. Benny Avni. The Sun, "Saudi Arabia Claims Progress on Gender Equality." Accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.nysun.com/foreign/saudi-arabia-claims-progress-on-gender-equality/53352/
  82. 2009. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights Promises Broken." Website accessed on 11/20/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/08/saudi-arabia-women-s-rights-promises-broken
  83. 2005. Amira Mashhour. Human Rights Quarterly (Volume 27, Number 2, pg. 562-596), "Islamic Law and Gender Equality: Could There be a Common Ground?: A Study of Divorce and Polygamy in Sharia Law and Contemporary Legislation in Tunisia and Egypt."
  84. U.S. Department of State. 2009. Travel.State.Gov, "International Travel Information - Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/13/09, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1012.html#crime
  85. U.S. Department of State. 2009. Travel.State.Gov, "International Travel Information - Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/13/09, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1012.html#crime
  86. Rapid Intelligence. 2005. NationMaster.com, "NationMaster Saudi Crime statistics." Website accessed 10/13/2009, http://www.nationmaster.com/country/sa-saudi-arabia/cri-crime
  87. Rapid Intelligence. 2005. NationMaster.com, "NationMaster Saudi Crime statistics." Website accessed 10/13/2009, http://www.nationmaster.com/country/sa-saudi-arabia/cri-crime
  88. James Sheptycki, Ali Wardak, Jame Hardie-Bick. 2005. Transnational and Comparative Criminology. New York City, New York: Routledge.
  89. U.S. Department of State. 2009. Travel.State.Gov, "International Travel Information - Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/13/09, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1012.html#crime
  90. Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index 2008, "CPI 2008 Table." Website accessed on 10/25/09, http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table
  91. Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index 2008, "Global Corruption Barometer 2009." Website accessed on 10/25/09, http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2009/gcb2009
  92. U.S. Department of State. 2009. Travel.State.Gov, "International Travel Information - Saudi Arabia." Website accessed on 10/25/09, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1012.html#crime
  93. Rapid Intelligence. 2005. NationMaster.com, "NationMaster Saudi Crime statistics." Website accessed 10/13/2009, http://www.nationmaster.com/country/sa-saudi-arabia/cri-crime
  94. Associated Press. 2006. MSNBC World News, "Rape case calls Saudi legal system into question." Website accessed on 10/13/2009, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15836746/
  95. 2007. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Rape Victim Punished for Speaking Out." Website accessed on 10/13/2009, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2007/11/15/saudi-arabia-rape-victim-punished-speaking-out.
  96. Najah Alosaimi. Arab News, "Outlaw Marital Abuse, Demand Saudi Women." Website accessed on 10/13/2009, http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=94779&d=10&m=4&y=2007
  97. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/13/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  98. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/13/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  99. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009. The World Factbook, "Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 10/11/2009, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
  100. 2008. Amnesty International UK, "Saudi Arabia: Foreign workers 'pay with the lives' in grossly unfair justice system-new report." Website accessed on 10/13/2009, http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=17902
  101. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Crime and Punishment." Website accessed 11/08/2009, http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0138)
  102. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Crime and Punishment." Website accessed 11/08/2009, http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0138)
  103. 2009. Filip Spagnoli. P.A.P. Blog, "Human Rights Quote (119): Capital Punishment in Saudi Arabia." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/human-rights-quote-119-capital-punishment-in-saudi-arabia/
  104. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Crime and Punishment." Website accessed 11/08/2009, http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0138)
  105. 2009. Hands Off Cain. Hands Off Cain - Against Death Penalty in the World, "Executions in 2008." Website accessed on 11/08/09, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/index.php?tipotema=arg&idtema=12000547
  106. The International Justice Project. IJP - Juveniles, "Reported Worldwide Executions of Juveniles Since 1990." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://www.internationaljusticeproject.org/juvWorld.cfm
  107. 2005. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Court Orders Eye to Be Gouged Out." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2005/12/08/saudi-arabia-court-orders-eye-be-gouged-out
  108. 2005. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: Court Orders Eye to Be Gouged Out." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2005/12/08/saudi-arabia-court-orders-eye-be-gouged-out
  109. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Prison Conditions." Website accessed 11/08/2009, http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0139)
  110. The Library of Congress - Federal Research Division. 1992. A Country Study: Saudi Arabia, "Saudi Arabia - Prison Conditions." Website accessed 11/08/2009, http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sa0139)
  111. 2005. Terance D. Miethe and Hong Lu. Punishment: a comparative historical perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
  112. 2002. CBC News. A State of Denial - Inside a Saudi Prison, "Inside a Saudi Prison - Ron Jones." Website accessed on 11/08/09, http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/saudi/prison.html.
  113. 2007. Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, "Saudi Arabia: New Video Confirms Torture in Prison." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2007/04/26/saudi-arabia-new-video-confirms-torture-prison
  114. World Tribune. WorldTribune.com, "Five new Saudi prisons aim to rehabilitate Al Qaida inmates." Website accessed 11/08/09, http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/me_saudis_01_29.asp