Illustrative purposes: An aerial view shows deserted streets in Mecca on April 8, 2020 Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh: In a major development in the Saudi legal system, the General Assembly of the Supreme Court, the kingdom’s highest court, has instructed all courts to drop flogging sentences in disciplinary cases.

The decision was approved by the majority of the assembly comprised of the Supreme Court president and all judges, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Friday. The assembly determines general judicial principles and considers matters as indicated by law.

According to Okaz, the assembly’s decision introduces a judicial principle not to impose flogging sentences in disciplinary punishments and limits the judges’ ruling to prison terms, fines or both, or to alternative punishment according to the regulations.

The daily did not identify the sources, but it said they were well informed.

Several judges in Saudi Arabia when pronouncing sentences in disciplinary cases, such as theft, pestering people, street offences, forgery, defamation, and slander, combine prison terms or fines with a number of lashes.

The writer is a journalist based in Manama.