Pakistan

Pakistani citizen executed in Saudi Arabia as figure nears 100

Saudia

RIYADH: A Pakistani national was among two men executed by Saudi authorities on Tuesday, bringing to 98 the number of executions carried out in the ultra-conservative kingdom so far this year.

Mohammed Mukhtar  was convicted of heroin trafficking and was executed in the eastern city of Dammam, the interior ministry said.

Saudi citizen Ali Assiri, who was found guilty of stabbing a fellow tribesman to death, was executed in the southwestern region of Asir, the ministry added.

Saudi Arabia imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy. Most people executed are beheaded with a sword.

There were no beheadings during the month of Ramaz an, which began in the kingdom on June 6. However, executions resumed on Sunday when authorities put a Saudi murderer to death.

Human rights group Amnesty International says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences last year, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan.

Amnesty’s figures do not include secretive China. The London-based watchdog says the Saudi rate of executions this year is “higher than at the same point last year”.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” offences on a single day in January.

They included prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, leading Riyadh to sever relations.

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