There is no church-state separation in Saudi Arabia. There is no criminal code or precedent. Rather the law is administered according to the individual judge's interpretation of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad's teachings. 'Eye-for-an-eye' justice is common unless the accused pays an agreed upon sum to the victim. This results in unequal justice as the rich have no problem paying but the poor often are unable to raise the necessary money. Ali al-Khawabar finds himself in this position. A poor man, he should have been released from prison in 2010 after serving his six-year prison sentence. However, he and his family have been unable to raise the money to pay his victim. The person assaulted by Ali al-Khawabar was paralyzed as a result of Ali's actions. While the Saudi government states that Ali al-Khawabar will not suffer severance of his spinal cord it has made no move to release him from prison even though he has served more than his six-year sentence.
Ali al-Khawabar is not the first to face eye-for-an-eye justice or indefinite detention.