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Saudi beheads Pakistani for ‘smuggling’ heroin

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday beheaded a Pakistani man, the interior ministry said, bringing to almost 60 the number of executions in the kingdom this year.

Mohammad Yunus Mohammed Shoaib, executed in the Eastern Province community of Qatif, “was caught smuggling a large quantity of heroin into the kingdom inside his gut,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

His decapitation takes to 57 the number of people executed by sword in the ultra-conservative Gulf nation this year, compared with 78 people in all of 2013, according to an AFP count.

On Tuesday a Saudi, Hamad bin Awadh bin Hawi Al-Anzi, was executed in northern Jawf region “because he smuggled a large quantity of amphetamine pills into the kingdom,” SPA said.

The Interior Ministry said the government “is keen on combating narcotics due to their great harm to individuals and the society.”

A United Nations independent expert in September called for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials “are by all accounts grossly unfair” and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer.

He said confessions were obtained under torture.

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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