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MENAFN - Arab News - 03/12/2013

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Reactions to reports that a prince's properties were confiscated on the orders of a court pending his repayment of SR21 million owed to a citizen are spreading on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
Many have tweeted that such a move reinforces the independence of the judiciary and that the rule of law is applicable to everyone regardless of status.
"This is one instance where the king's project to improve the judiciary and court system is shown to be succeeding," one tweep said.
Some, however, have found such a move unusual since mainstream media have never disseminated any news about the level of independence exercised by courts in the Kingdom.
Others maintain that they don't believe such news even though many tweeps have said that there is nothing out of the ordinary in these recent developments.
Some have cited news items from local paper archives that run news briefs about princes from time to time.
Skeptics have said that such headlines are simply hard to believe and as such, are not to be trusted, an idea that has prompted protest among optimists.
The Ministry of Justice recently issued a ruling against the prince in a lawsuit filed against him by a Saudi citizen. The prince and the citizen had commercial and land dealings, but financial disagreements ensued and they went to court.
The ruling stipulates that the prince should repay SR21 million in debt owed to the plaintiff. The Ministry of Justice implemented the ruling by withdrawing SR10 million from the prince's accounts and giving it to the citizen.
The ministry has also halted the prince's services and frozen his accounts and land assets until he repays the remainder of the sum.
The Ministry of Justice obliged the prince to repay the sum after the citizen cited a court of appeal ruling in his favor. The citizen went to the Ministry of Justice following delays in the implementation of the ruling. The judge then issued a judicial order to implement the ruling within five days.
This is not the first such ruling in the Kingdom, sources said.
This ruling has been preceded by many others issued against members of the royal family, which proves the independence of the judiciary.
One such case was that of a prince being sentenced to death after being found guilty of killing a Saudi citizen in Riyadh in 2004. The prince was taken to the "Qassas" square for public beheading, but the father of the victim pardoned the killer at the eleventh hour.
The Ministry of Justice said implementation comes under its scope of judicial work.
Eight implementation commissions have recently been set up in several public courts in Taif, Bisha, Khamis Mushayt, Jazan, Baha, Najran, Sakaka and Qatif. This is in addition to commissions that already exist in Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Madinah, Dammam, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa, Qassim, Hail and Kharj.


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