Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The general administration of lawyers in the Saudi Ministry of Justice headed by Abdul Rahma al Houtan is seeking to issue a motion forbidding lawyers from giving any statements to the press in ongoing cases. The motion is expected to be forwarded to the Minister of Justice within the next few days.
The proposal, which Asharq al Awsat obtained a copy of, followed a meeting between representatives of the lawyers’ committee in the chamber of commerce in Riyadh, Ali al Suwaylim, Abdul Nsser al Sahibani and the administration’s advisor Marwan al Ruqi. They underlined the minister of justice’s support for the creation of a law association and the need to ban unlicensed lawyers from practicing. They also examined the possibility of granting lawyers additional powers, such as documentation and certification, as well as allocating them waiting room in courts and facilitating their entry.
A number of lawyers criticized the decision to ban them from speaking to the press and indicated that the motion, if it passes, would obscure the work of the judiciary and possibly harm people’s interests. Saad al Ghunaym told Asharq al Awsat that every individual should express themselves freely but added that an article in the Saudi publishing law prohibits the discussion of a case underway, unless permission from the judicial authorities is obtained.
Meanwhile, the lawyers’ committee at the industrial chamber of commerce in the eastern province held its second meeting, under the leadership of Khaled Abdul Latif al Saleh. It decided to establish three sub-committees: the committee for legal assistance, the committee for conferences, training and media, and the arbitration committee. It also approved its schedule for the current year.
The committee selected its president Khaled al Saleh, vice-president Salah al Ahmadi, and members Jamal al Muzeen and Hussam Gazzawi to become members of the national lawyers’ committee.