Saudi Ara­bia mov­ing in right di­rec­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - ASSEL ALJAIED Wake For­est, North Carolina

Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man re­cently is­sued a royal de­cree, chang­ing the name of the Saudi Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion to the more con­cise Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion. He also re­lieved Prince Mo­hammed bin Nayef of his role as min­is­ter of the in­te­rior and over­seer of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Pub­lic pros­e­cu­tion now reports di­rectly to King Sal­man, which will have a huge im­pact on Saudi Ara­bia’s le­gal sys­tem.

The du­ties of the Saudi po­lice once fell un­der mul­ti­ple gov­ern­ment sec­tors. The po­lice not only col­lected ev­i­dence and con­ducted in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but also pros­e­cuted de­fen­dants. This cre­ated a con­flict of in­ter­est that led to wide­spread mis­con­duct. The Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion was cre­ated to give the ju­di­cial author­ity a sep­a­rate en­tity. How­ever, it was es­tab­lished un­der the Min­istry of the In­te­rior, which led to a con­cen­tra­tion of power and in­suf­fi­cient checks and bal­ances. To ad­dress this is­sue, King Sal­man granted pros­e­cu­tion full in­de­pen­dence.

Re­form­ing pros­e­cu­tion’s or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture demon­strates a con­certed ef­fort to mod­ern­ize Saudi Ara­bia, mod­el­ing it af­ter western so­ci­ety, where sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers is com­monly prac­ticed. The Saudi gov­ern­ment aims to im­ple­ment these changes with­out sac­ri­fic­ing its Is­lamic iden­tity. With the de­ci­sion to give full au­ton­omy to Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion, the Saudi gov­ern­ment is on the right track. In a coun­try where half of the pop­u­la­tion is be­low age 25, young lead­er­ship, rep­re­sented by the newly ap­pointed Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, has al­ready had a pos­i­tive im­pact. Now that Prince Mo­hammed is poised to be the next king, a new Is­lamic iden­tity is cer­tainly on the hori­zon.

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