Saudi Arabia beheads eighth Pakistani since mid-October

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Pakistani on Tuesday became the eighth person from his country to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking since mid-October.

Seyfour al-Rahman Golajan is the latest of 73 people, foreigners and Saudis, to be executed in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

He "was caught trying to smuggle a large quantity of heroin hidden in his gut into the kingdom," an interior ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Golajan was executed in the Eastern Province city of Dammam.

The ministry says the government is battling narcotics "because of their great harm to individuals and society."

The death penalty in US-ally Saudi Arabia is used in violation of international human rights law and standards.

More than 2,000 people were executed in the oil-rich Gulf state between 1985 and 2013, Amnesty International claimed in a 2012 report.

In September, a United Nations independent expert expressed concern about the judicial process and called for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

According to Amnesty, trials in capital cases are often held in secret.

Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said the fact “that people are tortured into confessing to crimes, convicted in shameful trials without adequate legal support and then executed is a sickening indictment of the Kingdom’s state-sanctioned brutality.”

Non-lethal crimes including “adultery”, armed robbery, “apostasy”, drug-related offenses, rape, “witchcraft” and “sorcery” are all punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

In addition, political activism is also penalized by death.

Saudi judges have this year passed death sentences down to five pro-democracy advocates, including prominent activist and cleric Nimr al-Nimr, for their part in protests.

Human rights organizations and activists have called on Saudi Arabia to overturn the death sentences, accusing the Saudi regime of curbing freedom of speech and opinion.

Moreover, Human Rights Watch urged the Saudi authorities to abolish the Specialized Criminal Court, the body that sentenced the five activists and many others to death, saying that analysis revealed “serious due process concerns” such as “broadly framed charges,” “denial of access to lawyers,” and “quick dismissal of allegations of torture without investigation.”

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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