Saudi Arabia beheads Turkish man, marking 70th execution of 2014

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saudi Arabia beheaded on Thursday a Turkish man convicted of drug trafficking in Riyadh, the interior ministry said, in the latest execution in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.

Ali Agridas was convicted of receiving a "large amount of drugs," the ministry said in a statement.

His execution brings to 70 the number of Saudis and foreigners beheaded in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP count, compared with 78 people in all of 2013.

Rape, murder, apostasy, drug trafficking and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Moreover, 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 handed down to pro-democracy activists, accusing the Saudi regime of curbing freedom of speech and opinion.

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.”

A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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