If you are living in Saudi then you must live by the code of conduct of Saudi society. If not then you will find yourself under arrest and might have to face the punishment.
The common offenses which might get you detained are consumption of alcohol in public, possession of drugs, possession of pornographic material, the unmarried couple found together (Khilwa) and gambling.
This article is about to keep your head on track and what to do if found in such circumstances. If an expatriate has received information regarding the arrest of his fellow national then he should immediately inform General Consulate of that country.
In the following paragraphs, we shall be sharing with you the points you need to take care if Saudi Police arrests you.
What to do at the time of arrest by the Saudi Police: If any person is under arrest by the Saudi police then he should request the police to contact the Consulate General of his country and inform them of his detention.
Under Saudi law, you are allowed to request the presence of a consulate representative during the investigation. Once you are detained inform the consulate general of your hearing so that you could be assisted.
- Every expatriate should always keep a list of contact numbers in his or her bag including the contact number of nearest embassy or consulate.
- If due to any circumstances the person who is under arrest should not lose his cool and behave politely with the Saudi police.
- Call the friends or family members and ask them to inform the nearest embassy or consulate or do it yourself. This is the first and foremost thing to be done.
Rights of a person arrested by the Saudi Police: A person while living in a foreign country should always be aware of his rights in case he might need to use them.
Under Saudi law, nobody can be arrested, searched, detained or imprisoned for any period of time in any facility unless and until he has been convicted of that crime or offense.
- In detention, a person is not to be tortured by any means; this includes bodily harm, degrading treatment, derogatory remarks and any sexual torture.
- When a person is arrested he has the right to a lawyer or a representative of the embassy or consulate to assist during the investigation and trial period.
- A person is allowed to not say a word unless assistance of the lawyer has been provided. It is also advised to keep calm and not be provoked by any remarks.
What to do under investigation by the Saudi Police: During the investigation, a person should not say a single word unless his lawyer or a representative from the consulate is present.
- If not, then that person should ask for the embassy assistance.
- Any wrong word said can be held against that person in the hearing of court.
- A person under any condition or pressure should not admit to the crime for which he is innocent.
- Firstly, never ever sign any paper which is written in a language unknown to him or which is blank.
- Refrain from writing his name anywhere.
- During an investigation, it is advisable to stick to the barest fact and not offer any extra information.
What to do under Detention of the Saudi Police: While detained at the police station refrain from giving any statements in the absence of a lawyer or a consulate representative.
Request the police to call for a visit by a consulate representative. Immediate report of the detention should be sent to the consulate by calling friends or family so that they may come for assistance.
- The police generally call the consulate for assistance if they are unable to extract any information from the person under detention.
What to do during custody of Saudi Police: If a person has been taken into custody by the prison authorities, the first thing he should do is call a lawyer or a consulate representative.
- Do not lie to the representative from the consulate and do not hide any facts. In fact, it is advisable to tell the whole background of the case without leaving a single minor thing. The consulate lawyers have better knowledge regarding the method to tackle the case.
- When investigated by the prison authorities, do not give any extra information. It is better to remain quiet and ask for a lawyer. A person should not give any information which is not asked for, do not admit to any acts not done or any statement not given.
What to do at Prosecutor’s Office in Saudi Arabia: Before going to the prosecutor’s office or court a person should request the jail authorities to inform the consulate the date and time of the hearing.
- If the representative is absent then that person should ask the jail guard to take the name and room number of the judge as well as the case number and other important information which can be later relayed to the representative.
- It is within the rights of an expatriate to request an interpreter so that he can answer the question asked by the judge correctly and sign any documents after understanding the content properly.
- The interpreter is the safeguard of the expatriates. Even if a person knows the language properly it is still advisable to ask for an interpreter so that no minor facts should be missed.
What to do while Waiting for the court sentence in Saudi Arabia: A person should not passively wait for the court to sentence him. He should visit the Saudi case officer and ask him for the information and tracking of the case. It is the right of a person and if denied he should report the consulate regard the refusal to provide information.
- All the requests and the letters to the family are mediated through the consulate representative. Furthermore, the consulate representative should be requested to follow up the case and relay any important information regarding the case. Passively waiting for the sentence may indicate a lack of interest or it may also indicate acceptance of the crime.
What to do during the Proceedings of the trial in Saudi Arabia: During the proceedings of the trial, a person must be very attentive and ask the court interpreter to translate everything word by word.
- Before agreeing to any sentence that person must ask the interpreter to explain the verdict properly.
- If it is not agreeable, he should not sign any papers before knowing the content. If a person is not satisfied with the sentence then he should ask for a re-trial or make an appeal for the case.
- A person is entitled to make an appeal within 30 days after the imposed sentence. During the visit of the consulate representative before the court, trial asks him to prepare an appeal to the Tameez Court.
Appeal to the Tameez court: There are numerous letters for appeal in the Tameez Court. It might take a lot of time for the case to come to the front.
To avoid this ask the consulate representative to meet with the Saudi concerned authorities so that speedy deliberation can be made by notifying Saudi ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Before submitting the letter of appeal, make a photocopy of it and keep it safe. A person should wait for the decision of the Tameez Court.
- In all of the proceedings, the person affected is advised to stay calm and cool and prohibited to take a single step without a lawyer or a consulate representative.
- The Saudi laws are very strict and people are advised to tread carefully and do not lose their tongues. Additionally, those who have been detained by the Saudi police are asked to behave politely and courteously with them.