JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed three Pakistani nationals convicted of smuggling heroin, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom to 26 this year.
The state-run SPA news agency said the three had been found guilty of “smuggling quantities of heroin in their stomachs”.
It named the three men as Mohammed Ashraf Shafi Mohammed, Mohammed Aref Mohammed Anayt and Mohammed Afdal Asghar Ali. All three are Pakistani citizens.
SPA reported 153 people being executed in the ultra-conservative kingdom last year, a number confirmed by London-based rights group Amnesty International.
Among those executed was cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a high-profile figure behind a string of Shiite protests in 2011 demanding reform in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
Amnesty reported 158 death penalties in the country for 2015, the third-highest number of executions. That was far behind Pakistan which executed 326, and Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, which executed at least 977, said Amnesty whose figures exclude secretive China.
Saudi Arabia has a strict legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.