Saudi Arabia approves centre for protection of whistle-blowers

Institution will provide legal cover from threats, danger or harm

The Public Prosecution offices in Al Madina Al Munawara. Saudi Arabia has introduced sweeping changes to its judicial system since 2017, as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan SPA
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Saudi Arabia has approved the establishment of a centre for the protection of whistle-blowers, as the kingdom intensifies efforts to curb corruption.

The centre is being established in line with a new whistle-blower law, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on February 13, to provide security to people who may come under threat for providing evidence in court cases.

It will be known as the Centre for the Protection of Whistle-blowers, Witnesses, Experts, and Victims.

Sheikh Saud Al Muajab, Attorney General and Chairman of the Council of Public Prosecutions, said the decision to approve the centre is in line with Article Four of the whistle-blower law, which calls for the establishment of a special programme under the Public Prosecution.

The law is meant to encourage and enable information-sharing on crimes, by protecting informants, witnesses, experts and victims from attacks or threats that may adversely affect the delivery of such information.

Article 14 allows the centre to provide measures such security personnel, concealment of personal data, the transfer of a person's place of work and the provision legal, psychological and social guidance.

The law also grants protection to those covered by it without their consent if there is a possibility of them being exposed to imminent danger.

Penalties for conduct that may be seen as an attack on those under protection include prison sentences and fines of up to 5 million Saudi riyals ($1.3 million).

The law will come into effect 120 days after the date of its publication in the official Umm Al Qura Gazette on March 1, 2024.

Saudi Arabia has introduced sweeping changes to its judicial system since 2017, as part its Vision 2030 reform plan.

In 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced reforms aimed towards a codified Saudi law, amid efforts to boost efficiency and reduce ambiguity in rulings by the nation's courts.

Updated: April 25, 2024, 8:48 AM