Saudi Arabia’s Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman who is the face of the reform wave, seems determined to transform the global image of the kingdom. After introducing liberal laws to enforce gender equality and empower non-oil sectors of the economy, the Arab nation has now imposed stringent laws to combat terrorism and its funding.
The Kingdom, which is also a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, has provided €100 million ($117 million) to curb terrorist activitIes in the Sahel countries in Africa.
Dimah Al-Sharif, a legal consultant and member of the International Association of Lawyers, told Arab news that the recent legislation of 26 articles has covered most of the aspects that breed terrorist activities ranging from dissemination of ideas to funding of terrorist organisation.
The counterterrorism law also harnesses the use of charities and non-profit institutions as facades by terrorist organisations to fund their activities.
She added that this legislation “gives prosecutors the right to request records or documents from a suspicious institution,” and “obligates institutions to implement the counterterrorism law in a full and accurate manner.”
The Kingdom has been severely criticised in a report published by the UN in 2018 stating Saudi Arabia uses anti-terrorism laws to justify torture and violates Human rights. The Arab nation defended itself by saying that its laws are at per with national and international human rights standards. Saudi officials also asserted that the allegations of torture published by UN were not substantiated by fact.
The Kingdom has ratified several human rights treaties, and is a current member of the United Nations HRC.
In a recent annual report, the US State Department praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism and published the same in its report. It said, “Saudi Arabia has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism.”
Also, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization, published a report last year praising the Kingdom for significantly altering the way it combats money laundering, terrorism funding and arms proliferation.