Saudi Arabia: 25 major crimes requiring pretrial detention named

Abu Dhabi: Following a decision issued under the Criminal Procedures Law, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mujib yesterday named 25 major crimes requiring pretrial detention, local media reported.

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The decision features the preservation of private and public rights and the right of the accused and the balance between them to achieve the respected interests.

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Saudi Arabia provides most defendants the opportunity for release prior to trial. Pretrial detention is limited to only those charged with these 25 most serious crimes and other specified circumstances such as violating conditions of, or committing a new crime while on pretrial release.

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A court must make certain determinations before ordering detention. Commonly, Saudi laws require the court to determine there is probable cause to believe the accused committed the crime or that no release conditions will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance. Laws also permit denial of release in order to protect the safety of the victim or the community.

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Detained or released

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Laws require a hearing to determine if a defendant will be detained or released. These hearings provide the court with the opportunity to consider information presented by the prosecution and defense.

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According to the Attorney General’s decision, the major crimes requiring pretrial detention include Hudud crimes

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punishable by death or amputation penalties, such as apostasy, adultery, and sodomy, offences punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding three years, intentional or semi-intentional homicide, crimes against national security.

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Serious crimes also include acts stipulated in article 118 of the Commercial Paper Law, unless the cheque drawer pays its value, or in the event of reconciliation, or assignment between the parties, embezzlement of public funds, funds of joint-stock companies, banks, unless the money is paid up by the defaulter.

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The crimes requiring pre-trial detention also include financial fraud involving money exceeding SR20,000, unless the private right expires, deliberate physical assault on people causing full or partial loss of an organ, or injury whose recovery period is more than 21 days unless the victim waives.

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Likewise, serious offences include assault on public or private property by any means of destruction, provided that the value of the damage exceeds SR20,000, unless the value of the damaged is paid up, or the owner of the damaged property assigns, physically assaulting a parent unless the victim gives up, encroaching on a house with the intention of attacking, or stealing money unless the owner of the private right gives up, major thefts committed by setting up gangs, along with plundering money or stealing cars unless the owner gives up private right.

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Major crimes

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Among the major crimes are pimping, preparing places for prostitution, selling, making, smuggling, or possessing intoxicants for the purpose of promoting or trafficking, smuggling the khat plant, bringing it, receiving it or planting it with the intention of promoting or trading.

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Saudi Public Prosecution explained that certain actions resulting in traffic accidents fall under the category of major crimes.

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It said driving a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, or drifting or driving in the opposite direction or jumping the red traffic light are considered major crimes, if they result in permanent or partial damage to an organ, or an injury that has a recovery period of more than a fortnight.

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According to article 62 of the Traffic Law, accidents that entail penalties are those that infringe upon the regulation or are excessive to the extent of resulting in permanent or partial damage to an organ.

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These are punishable by imprisonment for a maximum period of four years, a fine not exceeding SR200,000, or both.

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It added that anyone responsible for a traffic accident resulting in an injury whose recovery period exceeds 15 days, shall face a maximum imprisonment of two years, and a fine not exceeding SR100,000, or any of these two penalties. The private right of the aggrieved party should be given due importance.

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Private rights

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And those whose actions caused the accident shall be referred to the judiciary — according to statutory procedures — to decide appropriate punishment while according due importance to the private rights.

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Serious offences also include deliberately assaulting a security man, while on duty, damaging his official vehicle, or equipment and firing a firearm in public places or events.

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Extortion, kidnapping, or detention with the intention of assaulting honor or money of people, and commercial fraud if the fake product or the materials used in making it are harmful to human or animal health or affecting their safety are also deemed serious offences according to the Saudi Attorney General’s decision.

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The Morning and Evening Brief

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