International

Saudi beheaded in first execution of year

RIYADH: A Saudi convicted of drug trafficking became the first person executed in 2015 in the Muslim kingdom which beheaded 87 people last year, according to an AFP tally.

Malik bin Said al-Sayaari was put to the sword in the Al-Hasa district of Eastern Province after a repeat conviction for hashish smuggling, the interior ministry said.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its use of the death penalty despite repeated appeals from the United Nations and human rights watchdogs.

Last year’s tally marked a significant increase on the 78 executions recorded in 2013.

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

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