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Saudi Executions Exceed 100 This Year

by AFP
Steve Evans

Steve Evans

Capital punishment in Gulf kingdom resumed on Sunday after break for holy month of Ramzan.

Saudi authorities on Friday executed a man for murder, the interior ministry said, bringing to 101 the number of people put to death this year in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Fahad Abdulhadi al-Dusari was found guilty of shooting dead fellow Saudi Mubarak bin Mohammed al-Dusari following a dispute, the ministry said in statement carried by the SPA state news agency. He was executed in Riyadh province, it said.

Saudi Arabia’s growing use of the death penalty has prompted Amnesty International to call for an “immediate” moratorium on the practice. The kingdom imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy.

Most people executed are beheaded with a sword.

There were no beheadings during the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan, which began in the kingdom on June 6. However, capital punishment resumed on Sunday when authorities put a Saudi murderer to death. On Thursday, authorities carried out the 100th execution of the year, executing another murderer.

“Saudi Arabia is speeding along in its dogged use of a cruel and inhuman punishment, mindless of justice and human rights,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa head Philip Luther. “At this rate, the Kingdom’s executioners will soon match or exceed the number of people they put to death last year,” he said. Many of those executed are convicted after “deeply unfair trials,” he said.

Amnesty says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences last year, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan. Amnesty’s figures do not include secretive China.

“The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty once and for all,” Luther said.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” offences on a single day in January. They included prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, triggering a diplomatic crisis between the two rivals.

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