Constitutional Provisions

Saudi Arabia is a constitutional monarchy governed by Shari'a law. The 2005 Constitution of Saudi Arabia comprises three elements: a Basic Law, the Shura (Consultative) Council Law, and the Law of the Provinces. Under the Basic Law, it is stipulated that: 

The State shall protect human rights in accordance with Islamic Shari'ah.Art. 26, 2005 Constitution of Saudi Arabia.

Under Article 81 of the Basic Law, it is provided that its implementation "shall not violate the treaties and agreements the Kingdom has signed with other countries or with international organizations and institutions".

Treaty Adherence

Global

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties

1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Not party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 Not party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Not party

Regional

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
2004 Arab Charter of Human Rights State Party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

According to the 2001 Law of Criminal Procedure:

A person under arrest shall not be subjected to any bodily or moral harm. Similarly, he shall not be subjected to any torture or degrading treatment.Art. 2, 2001 Law of Criminal Procedure.

Under Article 41, if the owner or occupant of a dwelling refuses to allow a criminal investigation officer free access, or resists such entry, "he may use all lawful means, as may be required in the circumstances, to enter that dwelling." The Law does not, though, regulate the use of force in affecting an arrest or preventing the escape of a suspect or prisoner.

Royal Decree No. 43 of 16 June 1958 provides for a sentence of up to ten years' imprisonment for an official who is found to have engaged in torture or cruel treatment while in office: this includes imposition of exemplary punishment. It further stipulates that anyone who has suffered harm shall have the right to appropriate compensation .

Use of Force in Custodial Settings

Both the death penalty and corporal punishment may be applied to a convicted criminal pursuant to a court judgment, in violation of international law.

Police Oversight

There is no independent police oversight body in Saudi Arabia.

Caselaw

Global

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In 2016, the Committee against Torture expressed its deep concern 

at the numerous reports brought to its attention that torture and other ill-treatment are commonly practised in prisons and detention centres in the State party, in particular in branches of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of the Interior and in Al-Mabahith detention centres.Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of Saudi Arabia, UN doc. CAT/C/SAU/CO/2, 8 June 2016, §7.

Regional

There is no regional court established under the 2004 Arab Charter of Human Rights.

National

Saudi Arabia has claimed that 1,533 public officials were sentenced for abuse of authority and related offences in 2002-2011, but did not clarify which offences had been sanctioned.Committee against Torture, Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of Saudi Arabia, UN doc. CAT/C/SAU/CO/2, 8 June 2016, §7.

Downloads

2005 Constitution of Saudi Arabia

2001 Law of Criminal Procedure (English translation and original Arabic text)

Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Saudi Arabia (2016)