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Saudi Arabia: Religious Decree Forbids Chess

(Jan. 28, 2016) On January 21, 2016, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti, of the Sunni sect of Islam, who represents the formal religious institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, issued a religious decree to ban the game of chess. He stated that he had issued the fatwa forbidding chess because it is like […]

Saudi Arabia: Poet Sentenced to Death

(Dec. 7, 2015) On November 17, 2015, the Sharia General Court of Abha (a city in the southwest region of Saudi Arabia) found Ashraf Fayadh, a poet, guilty of blasphemy and apostasy. The Court sentenced him to the death penalty. (Angus McDowall, Saudi Arabian Court Sentences Palestinian Poet Ashraf Fayadh to Death for Apostasy, INDEPENDENT […]

Saudi Arabia: Proposed Change to Give Widows, Divorced Women More Independence

(Dec. 7, 2015) According to a December 2, 2015, report in Al Riyadh, a state-aligned newspaper, women in Saudi Arabia who are divorced or widowed will soon be able to transact some business without prior approval of a male relative or a court order.  The report stated that the Interior Ministry will issue family identity […]

Niger/Saudi Arabia: Agreement Signed on Labor Recruitment

(Oct. 13, 2015) On September 30, 2015, Niger’s Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Security, Salissou Ada, described the steps his country will take to implement an agreement between Niger and Saudi Arabia on recruitment of workers from Niger for jobs in Saudi Arabia. That agreement was concluded on June 5, at a meeting held […]

Saudi Arabia: Visit to Hospital Patients and Digging Graves in Lieu of Prison Term

(June 12, 2015) The Criminal Court in Jeddah Province, Saudi Arabia, substituted a novel punishment for a prison sentence against two young women and two young men by ordering the women to visit ten intensive care patients in one of the government hospitals and the men to dig five graves. The crime for which the […]

Saudi Arabia: Cyber-Crime Conviction

(Mar. 19, 2015) The Criminal Court of Qatif in Saudi Arabia recently convicted a 32-year-old woman on charges of defaming another Saudi citizen on the WhatsApp private messaging service and sentenced her to two months’ imprisonment, 70 lashes, and a fine of 20,000 riyals (about US$5,334). (Qatif: Imprisonment, Lashing, and Fine for a Woman in […]

Saudi Arabia: Women Not Allowed to Perform Notary Duties

(Nov. 14, 2014) Notaries public in Saudi Arabia are public employees under the Ministry of Justice, in accordance with article 73 and subsequent articles of the Judiciary Law issued by Royal Decree No. M/78 of 2007 (1428 Hijri). (Text of the Law [in Arabic] (Sept. 2, 2007), Bureau of Experts at the Council of Ministers […]

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Lawyer Convicted Under Anti-Terror Law

(July 10, 2014) On July 6, 2014, the Specialized Criminal Court of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, convicted and sentenced Walid abu al-Kheir, a Saudi lawyer and human rights activist, to 15 years in prison, a fine of 200,000 Saudi riyals (about US$53,300), and a ban on travel abroad for another 15 years. The crimes he was […]

Saudi Arabia: Income Tax Rules Amended

(Apr. 30, 2014) On March 19, 2014, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance amended several articles of a regulation issued under the country’s Income Tax Law, through Ministerial Resolution No. 1776. (Salah Gueydi, Saudi Arabia: Income Tax Executive Regulations Amended, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Apr. 25, 2014), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation, online subscription database; Income Tax […]

Saudi Arabia: New Terrorism Law in Effect

(Feb. 4, 2014) Saudi Arabia’s new counterterrorism law, which was passed by the Saudi Council of Ministers on December 16, 2013, and later signed by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, became effective on February 2, 2014. The law provides that any behavior can be characterized as terrorism if it undermines the state or society. It also […]