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Child rapist in first execution under new Saudi king

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a serial child rapist, in the first execution since King Salman’s rise to the throne in the Muslim monarchy, official media said.

“Mousa bin Saeed Ali al-Zahrani lured several underage girls and kidnapped them. He also threatened them and their relatives and physically assaulted them in his home,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the interior ministry.

“He raped them, detained them, forced them to drink alcohol, and forced some to watch pornographic material.”

The report did not disclose his nationality.

Zahrani was beheaded in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, bringing to 13 the number of Saudis and foreigners executed this year, according to an AFP tally.

Salman acceded to the throne last Friday after his half-brother King Abdullah died aged about 90, following a reign of almost 10 years.

The kingdom has faced constant international criticism over its human rights record, including the use of the death penalty.

Under Abdullah, the number of executions jumped from 27 in 2010 to around 80 annually, with 87 last year.

An independent expert working on behalf of the United Nations called in September for an immediate moratorium on executions in Saudi Arabia.

But the interior ministry insists that the execution of convicts such as Zahrani aims “to maintain security and realise justice”.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of Islamic sharia law. -AFP

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