Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrants rights providing assistance to distress, run away, stranded and jailed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) today said it lauded the plan by the Saudi government in crafting alternative punishments for crime offenders.
Citing local reports, Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said on Tuesday a spokesman of Saudi’s Prison department had been quoted saying the judicial and security authorities are discussing alternative punishments.
The Saudi’s prison dept. wanted to reduce the suffering of prisoners and their families and cut down the numbers of prisoners in various Saudi jails, a report in Arab News reported.
“We are more than happy to hear the announcement on Saudi’s plan in crafting alternative punishments especially if it will include migrants or expatriate workers who have only committed petty crimes in violation of the customary laws of the host government,” Monterona added.
He seconded that alternative punishments such as fines, social or community services, and other corrective measures could instead be imposed on petty crime offenders with no private rights liability involve.
“A number of our fellow Filipino compatriots and migrants of other Asian nationalities working in Saudi have been charged of petty offenses such as ‘mixed crowd’, possession of liquor, gambling, and absconding which are punishable by 6 to 1 year imprisonment plus a hundred of lashes,” Monterona averred.
Migrante-ME estimates there are about 800 OFW inmates in various Saudi jails.
Monterona said the so called ‘alternative punishments’ could instead be imposed which commensurate to the degree of the offense committed such that of petty crimes.
“Alternative punishments can be considered as ‘more humane punishment, corrective and rehabilitative without degrading the being of the person,” Monterona opined.
“We have noticed the host government is now gearing towards the humanization of its legal and judicial system in terms of imposing penalties and treatment to prisoners and petty crimes offenders. We welcome this plan,” Monterona concluded. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator