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International Crime Witness Essay



Week 6: International Crime Witness Part 1

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CRJ 330 Comparative Criminal Justice


Social, Political, Economic and Pertained Demographic Background of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, also commonly referred to as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a vast territory covering the Arabian Peninsula. The state shares boundaries with Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait and has an estimated 34, 218, and 169. The first Saudi State can be traced to 1744. However, the unification of the territory took place in 1932, with the admission in the United Nations made in 1945. As of 2020, the estimated Gross Domestic Product was $1.994 trillion, with the capita income being $56,817. It has a unitary Islamic absolute monarchy ruled by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. While there are many ethnic and racial groups in the state, Arabs account for 90% of the population while Afro-Arabs only make up 10%.

Despite being a signatory United Nations, the state has violated fundamental rights (Seleman, 2018). Its laws require that all citizens must be Muslims and abide by the set Islamic values and traditions. However, this means a frequent violation of rights such as freedom of worship, right to assemble, expression, and protection by the law. People who act contrary to the provisions of Sharia Laws are subjected to harsh treatment, torture, execution, and imprisonment. Additionally, in most cases, the offenders and the subjects are not accorded a fair hearing. The argument rests on the fact that there is the adoption of authoritarian values and side-lining international laws on human rights.

Saudi Arabia’s Criminal Code

The criminal code and procedure in Saudi Arabia are based on Islamic Sharia laws. They are part of the Sunna and Qur’an teachings by Prophet Muhammad. While these Sharia Laws are uncodified, they are applied across the country. However, the lack of judicial precedent or framework leads to uncertainty in the scope and applicability of Sharia laws and often leads to the violation of fundamental human rights. In dealing with a violent crime, there is the likelihood that the offender would not be accorded fair treatment or fundamental rights upheld. They are procedures and codes that cover the detaining, arresting, searching, and imposing suspects or offenders. Equally, the offenders/ suspects are not to be subjected to moral or bodily harm. However, this is not the case in Saudi Arabia, as the offenders are often subjected to degrading treatment and physical assaults (Seleman, 2018). The prevalence of these mistreatments and violations of human rights has pitted other signatories of the United Nations against Saudi Arabia. Additionally, advocacy groups have been on the leading front in dealing with the issue and ensuring that the rights of Saudi citizens are protected and upheld.

Comparison of Individual’s Rights in the USA and Saudi Arabia

The United States has advanced code procedures when concerning the treatment of offenders. These laws protect the privacy of offenders and prevent possible harassment from security officers. These laws are contained in the First Amendment and Title IX. There is a similar provision of grounds under which search warrants are to be issued, persons authorized, time and procedure of doing the searches. Moreover, the suspects or offenders have the right to an attorney and a fair hearing. However, these laws and rules are often side-lined in Saudi Arabia as the state is more inclined to adopt Sharia Laws (Alqahtani et al., 2018).

Additionally, Saudi Arabia lacks a clear guideline on the steps that are to be taken by the law enforcers. In the case of the USA, the process begins with the arrested, arraignment, pre-trial hearing, trial, and sentencing of the offenders. It is worth noting that the provision of clear procedures reduces the risk of violating fundamental human rights.

Summary of the Nature of Police Treatment in Saudi Arabia

Focusing on the policing and the security systems in Saudi Arabia indicates that it is based on the zero-tolerance model and often leads to more harm than good. The police are viewed as brutal and having minimal regard for the rights of the offenders (Balto, 2020). The negative public image erodes the trust of the society members in the police officers. In dealing with a typical crime, there are fewer chances for the Saudi Arabia police to inform the offenders of their rights or handle them dignifiedly. On the contrary, detention cases without trial or fair hearing are common (Levin, 2017). There are also instances where force and torture are imposed on the suspects or offenders. While adoption of Sharia comes with some benefits, it has also been seen to lead to the gross violation of human rights. As such, the USA and Saudi Arabia can be said to have contrary criminal codes and procedures.

Similarities and Differences between USA’s and Saudi’s Arabia Criminal Code and Procedures.

The procedures and codes adopted by the two countries are anchored at the need to reduce the crime levels in society. However, there are considerable variations in the manner through which this goal is attained. While the USA follows clear guidelines and frameworks in implementing its criminal procedures and codes, this is not the case with Saudi Arabia. The difference between the two countries mainly, lye in the protection of the rights of the offenders. A great example is that while the USA’s right to privacy is upheld, seizures and searches are not well-guided in Saudi Arabia. Equally, offenders in Saudi Arabia are not laws accorded the right to a fair hearing or protection by the state (Krishnan, 2017). Cases of police brutality, executions, biased hearings, illegal searches, and torture are common. In short, policing systems in the US are based on rules of law and respect for the rights of all citizens. On the other hand, the policing system in Saudi Arabia is mainly keen on implementing the Sharia laws without necessarily looking into the negative consequences.


Alqahtani, F. M., Ali, A., AlBelihi, A. M., & Ali, M. (2018). The Right of the Accused in Saudi in Criminal Procedure during Investigation Process and Arbitrary Dentation and Prohibits Torture and Protects the Rights of Suspects to Obtain Legal Counsel. In MATEC Web of Conferences (Vol. 150, p. 05053). EDP Sciences.

Balto, N. S. (2020). The constitutional feasibility of codifying Sharia discretion about punishments in Saudi Arabia.

Krishnan, V. R. (2017). An Insight into the Importance of Restorative Justice and the Rights of Offenders: An Analysis of Issues of Convergence and Divergence. In Restorative Justice in India (pp. 143-149). Springer, Cham.

Levin, B. (2017). Rethinking the Boundaries of Criminal Justice. Ohio St. J. Crim. L.15, 619.

Seleman, C. (2018). Saudi Arabia’s Illegal Executions of Juvenile Violent Extremist OffendersChild. Legal Rights. J.38, 148.

Last Updated on June 13, 2021

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