In a historic first for the country, the King of Saudi Arabia has announced an end to the death penalty for crimes committed by minors, coinciding with an order to judges to end the use of public flogging as a punishment and to replace it with community service, fines or jail time.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is thought by experts as being the driving force behind these changes as he strives to modernize his country and loosen the restrictions imposed by a strict following of Sharia Law. On the flip side of the coin, bin Salman has been accused of taking drastic measures to safeguard his power. He has been alleged to be behind the murder of critics like American Journalist Saudi Arabia Jamal Khashoggi, and the assassinations and incarcerations of various members of the Saudi Royal Family who posed a threat to his hold on the country and the king.
Nevertheless, this latest decree by the King will spare Saudi Arabia the death penalty for at least 6 men currently on death row, including one who protested against the government, who were arrested under the age of 18.