The decision was element of a royal decree, the statement said, and came two days after an announcement that public floggings would be barred.
Anyone who received a death sentence after being convicted of crimes they committed as a minor will receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility, the statement said. It is unclear when this decision is likely to be enacted.
It can also be unclear whether public flogging has been fully or partially barred. The English version of the HRC statement indicated that flogging would be completely abolished, however the Arabic version said the practice would only be prohibited in instances where in actuality the punishment are at the judge’s discretion, and never for crimes where the punishment is dictated by Sharia law.
The Saudi government and HRC did not instantly respond to CNN’s requests for clarity in regards to the flogging ban. Saudi state media and the ministry of justice have not issued an official statement on the decisions.
“This is an important day for Saudi Arabia made possible by King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman,” HRC president Awwad Alawwad said, in line with the group’s statement.
But you will find fears that political prisoners may not take advantage of the move. Rights group Reprieve on Monday said it had concerns about potential loopholes in the law and questioned whether it would be retroactively enforced.
“These will be nothing more than empty words as long as child defendants remain on death row. Mohammed bin Salman has been promising to ‘minimise’ the death penalty for years, but the kingdom continues to execute people convicted of attending demonstrations while they were still in school,” Reprieve director Maya Foa said in a statement.
The HRC has not stated if the move will apply to prisoners already sentenced to death.
“More reforms will be coming,” said Alawwad, who credited the Crown Prince’s Vision 2030 program, a drive to reform the kingdom’s economy and ultra-conservative social rules, for the move.
But bin Salman has also come under heavy criticism for stamping out dissent in the kingdom. Since that he was elevated to crown prince in June 2017, he has sent scores of human rights defenders, businessmen and intellectuals to prison.