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Saudis beheaded by own state

January 1, 2015

Saudi Arabia says it has beheaded two men accused of drug smuggling. More than 80 people were executed in the Muslim kingdom last year despite appeals to desist from the United Nations and human rights groups.

Symbolbild Schwert Exekution Saudi-Arabien
Image: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

The Saudi Interior Ministry said two convicted Saudis were executed by beheading on Thursday. The executions were carried out in the northwestern province of al-Juf and the eastern region of al-Ihsa, it said.

It named one of those killed as Malik bin Said al-Sayaari and said he had a repeat conviction for hashish smuggling.

According to the news agency tallies, at least 83 people were beheaded in Saudi Arabia last year, up on 79 executions recorded by Amnesty International in 2013.

Beheading is the usual method used in Saudi Arabia for crimes punishable by death, such as rape, murder, armed robbery and apostasy or insulting the prophet Mohammed.

Last August, Amnesty International condemned what it called a "disturbing surge" in executions in Saudi Arabia.

Calls rejected

Saudi authorities have repeatedly rejected calls to halt the kingdom's use of the death penalty, saying executions deter would-be offenders.

One of those executed in Riyadh in early December was a migrant Filipino worker who had been accused of fatally shooting his Saudi employer. The Philippines government later said it had tried to stop that execution.

Saudi Arabia ranks fourth behind China, Iran and Iraq for executions performed last year in the name of a national state. The United States was fifth.

Jordan ends moratorium

Two weeks ago, Jordan ended an eight-year moratorium on the death penalty by hanging 11 Jordanian men convicted of murder.

At the time, Human Rights Watch and Penal Reform International accused Jordan of backsliding on human rights.

In a recent report, Penal Reform International said 140 states and territories had abolished the death penalty in law or in practice over the past 50 years. Nearly 60 retain it.

ipj/tj (AFP, dpa, AP)

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