Drug Smuggler Marks Saudi Arabia’s 18th Execution of 2015

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded a convicted Jordanian drug smuggler, bringing to 18 the number of foreigners and locals executed in the kingdom this year.

Authorities carried out the sentence against Mohammed Salamah Fareeh al-Azazma in the northwestern Jawf region after he was found guilty of "smuggling a large amount of amphetamines," the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The punishment confirms the government's commitment "to fight all type of drugs due to the physical dangers they pose to the individual and society," it said.

Saudi Arabia has faced constant international criticism over its human rights record, including the use of the death penalty. In September, an independent expert working on behalf of the United Nations called for an immediate moratorium on executions in the oil-rich kingdom.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the country's Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Judges are trained as religious scholars and have a broad scope to base verdicts and sentences on their own interpretation of religious texts.

Saudi Arabia has executed so far an average of one person every two days this year. The Western-backed kingdom put to death 87 people last year according to an AFP tally.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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