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Under the legal systems of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, detainees generally have the right to challenge the legality of their detention by:

  1. Petitioning the investigative judge prior to referring the case to the trial court;[1]
  2. Petitioning the trial court after referral;[2] and
  3. Filing an appeal after conviction when such an appeal is allowed.[3]

The above-mentioned countries, except Saudi Arabia, are members of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which gives persons deprived of their liberty the right to challenge the legality of their detention.

None of these countries have an additional extraordinary process similar to the writ of habeas corpus that allows unlimited access to the courts to challenge the legality of detention.

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Prepared by Issam Michael Saliba
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
May 2007

Updated by Issam Michael Saliba
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
March 2009

  1. See, e.g., the Criminal Procedures Laws of Egypt, art. 144; of Yemen, arts. 76 & 194; and of Saudi Arabia, arts. 73 & 120. [Back to Text]
  2. Trial courts always have general jurisdiction to dispose of criminal cases, including the ordering of the release of detainees. [Back to Text]
  3. See, e.g., the Criminal Procedures Law of Yemen, art. 414; and of Saudi Arabia, art. 8. [Back to Text]

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Last Updated: 09/16/2014