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Saudi murderer and Pakistani smuggler beheaded

RIYADH: Saudi authorities on Tuesday beheaded a national for murder and a Pakistani for drug trafficking, the interior ministry said, amid a surge in executions in the kingdom this year.

Nader bin Mussa al-Harbi was found guilty of strangling compatriot Bandar bin Muhya al-Harbi over a dispute, the ministry said in a statement carried by the SPA state new agency.

He was executed in the northern city of Hail.

Pakistani citizen Benyameen Ali Ahmed was executed in Jeddah after being convicted of smuggling drugs in his stomach, the ministry said.

The two executions bring to 53 the number of death sentences carried out in 2015, compared with 87 in all of last year, according to AFP tallies.

The Gulf state has carried out around 80 executions annually since 2011, under its version of Islamic sharia law.

In comparison, Iran has executed more than 1,000 people since January last year, the UN special rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said last week.

The Saudi government says it “is committed to fighting drugs of all kinds due to the physical and social harm they cause”.

The cabinet affirmed last week that the kingdom’s legal system ensures “justice for all”, but human rights groups have expressed concern about the dangers of innocent people being sentenced to death. -AFP

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