March 25, 2008

Adults Before Their Time 

Children in Saudi Arabia's Criminal Justice System

I. Summary
Abuses of Children in Conflict with the Law..
Criminalizing Foreign Children in Need of Protection
II. Key Recommendations
Children in Detention
Children and the Criminal Law..
III. Methods
International Standards
IV. Background on the Criminal Justice System..
Overly-Broad Judicial Discretion
Arbitrary procedures for determining age of majority in criminal cases
Weak Protections against Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice
Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility
Pervasive Discrimination against Women and Girls
Detention Centers for Children
V. The Juvenile Death Penalty
The Death Penalty in Saudi Arabian Law..
Cases of Juvenile Offenders Sentenced to Death
VI. Children in Ministry of Social Affairs Detention Centers
Detention during Investigation, Pending Trial, and for Minor Offenses
Detention for "seclusion" or "mingling"
Indefinite detention for "guidance"
Delays in Release due to Guardians' Refusal to Receive Detainees
Other Obstacles to Challenging Deprivation of Liberty
Mixing Children of Different Ages and Conviction Statuses
VII. Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Use of Corporal Punishment and Solitary Confinement as Punishment
Denial of Family Visits as Punishment
Isolation for Reasons Other Than Punishment
"Therapeutic" isolation that is not a medical necessity
Isolation during investigation
VIII. Denial of Legal and Other Appropriate Assistance
Interrogations and Trial in Ministry of Social Affairs Facilities
Interrogations outside of Ministry of Social Affairs Facilities
IX. Conditions for Foreign Children in Need of Protection
The Role of Ministry of Social Affairs Offices for Combating Begging
Inadequate Procedures for Determining Children's Best Interests during Deportation Proceedings
Return to Real Risk of Irreparable Harm..
Detention in Adult Deportation Facilities
X. Recommendations
To the Government of Saudi Arabia
To the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)