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Third Pakistani beheaded in Saudi this year

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a convicted Pakistani heroin smuggler, the third person from his country executed for the crime this year.

Yassir Arafat Munir Ahmed was executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

“Investigations led to his confession and after a trial he was sentenced to death,” the ministry said.

Ahmed is the 11th person, and the third Pakistani, to be executed in the kingdom this year under a strict version of Islamic sharia law.

The interior ministry has said it is battling narcotics because of the “great harm” they do to society.

In September, an independent expert working on behalf of the United Nations expressed concern about the judicial process and called for an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom had the third-highest number of recorded executions in 2013, behind Iran and Iraq, Amnesty International said in a report.

The Gulf has become an increasingly important market for illicit drugs in recent years, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says.

On Sunday, the interior ministry said Saudi and United Arab Emirates security agents had disrupted a heroin trafficking network.

Two truck drivers from Pakistan were arrested.

The Pakistani city of Karachi is a key transit point for heroin from Afghanistan.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi law. – AFP

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