RIYADH, Mar 17 (INP): Saudi Arabia beheaded a Pakistani and two Saudis on Tuesday, bringing to 48 the number of death sentences carried out this year. That is more than half of the 87 people executed during all of 2014. Reasons for the surge are unclear but human rights group Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia is “well on track” to far exceed previous annual execution records.
The London-based watchdog says Saudi Arabia has regularly been among the world’s top five executioners. Among Tuesday’s cases, Mumtaz Hussein Deen Ahmed, of Pakistan, was executed in Medina after his conviction for smuggling heroin, the interior ministry said. Najr bin Faraj al-Azmi al-Otaibi, a Saudi, was put to death in the western city of Taif for stoning and caning to death another man, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Another Saudi, Moeid bin Ali bin Moeid al-Saad al-Qahtani, was beheaded by the sword in Eastern Province for gunning down a man. The ministry added that the execution of both Saudis was delayed until the children of their victims came of age to decide whether the sentences should be carried out. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s law. The cabinet affirmed on Monday that the kingdom’s legal system ensures “justice for all”, SPA reported.