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|08 November, 2018

Saudi Shoura passes law to protect informants, witnesses, victims

The proposal, which consists of 39 articles, protects informants from attacks, threats, material or moral harm, or anything that may adversely affect the giving of information.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Members of the Saudi advisory Shura Council listen to Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayaf Bin Abdul Aziz, brother of Saudi King Abdulah, during his presentation on the security situation in the kingdom, in Jeddah

Image used for illustrative purpose. Members of the Saudi advisory Shura Council listen to Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayaf Bin Abdul Aziz, brother of Saudi King Abdulah, during his presentation on the security situation in the kingdom, in Jeddah

REUTERS/Ali Jarekji
JEDDAH: The Shoura Council approved a proposed regulation on Tuesday that helps to protect informants, witnesses, experts and victims. 
The proposal, which consists of 39 articles, protects informants from attacks, threats, material or moral harm, or anything that may adversely affect the giving of information.
Arab News caught up with Dr. Muadi Al-Madhhab, one of the Shoura members who proposed the draft. He said: “It aims to protect whistle-blowers who are reporting cases of corruption because in most cases those informants face managerial abuse, harassment and threats for coming forward with the truth.”

The Kingdom has been working hard to battle corruption, and Al-Madhhab thinks this system will cover the loophole in previous systems.
“As the Kingdom is part of many international organizations where this law is established and carried out, invoking it now will aid in investments, and preserving rights and maintaining transparency,” he said.
Al-Madhhab mentioned that the system was first proposed last year, and he believes it is one of the fastest systems to pass through the Shoura Council and get approved. It was merged with another proposal of a similar system to protect witnesses, victims and experts.
“The 39 articles cover aspects suggested by both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Economy and Planning (about) how whistle-blowers can be protected, how they can report, who are the individuals warranting protection, the punishments toward those who reveal a whistle-blower’s identity and those who wish to harm them, as well as the experts, victims and witnesses.”
Al-Madhhab learned about the system during his studies and is now teaching variations of it at King Saud University. He said he decided to propose the system now due to “the timing,” and especially after the efforts of the National Authority for Combating Corruption, as it helps block the loophole in the system that many can use to escape justice.
The system will permeate both governmental and private sectors, and Al-Madhhab believes it will have fruitful outcomes in building trust, encouraging transparency and integrity among organizations, as well as establishing new opportunities for investment and raising the Kingdom to a higher pedestal.

Lawyer Dimah Alsharif told Arab News: “This long-awaited system will definitely encourage witnesses and informants to report their information without any kind of fear, threat or damage.”
She said that such a system emerging at a time when the Kingdom is battling corruption will help reduce corruption overall.
“This protection will also provide greater opportunity to monitor as much evidence as possible in the process of investigations, unlike in the past,” when these things took a long time to process owing to lack of evidence.
 

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