Saudi Arabia may bar media from courts

Saudi Arabia is considering plans to bar the media from courts to ensure trials will not be influenced by external factors, a newspaper in the Gulf kingdom reported on Sunday.

A panel at Shura, the country’s appointed parliament, is debating a draft law which will be presented to the ministry of justice and then to the cabinet for approval, 'Alriyadh' Arabic language daily said.

“There is a recommendation to prevent any person, whether a journalist, a lawyer or parties to the court case from making any statement in the media about a trial under way….offenders will be prosecuted,” the paper said, quoting Abdullah Al-Dousari, deputy chairman of the Islamic and judicial panel at Shura.

“This is a very important recommendation that should be enforced…the society and all parties in a court case need it, especially key cases involving blood, rape and marital problems.”

Dousari said the new law is intended to ensure journalists, lawyers and other persons would not influence trials. “This will achieve justice for all because the media sometimes defend one side against the other and this leads to upsetting justice.”

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