Saudi Arabia executes 74th person this year

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, November 27, 2014

Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani for heroin smuggling, bringing to nine the number of people from his country executed since mid-October.

Mohammed Rahman Mohammed Asghar had been "tried and found guilty of smuggling a large quantity of heroin into the kingdom," the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The sentence was carried out in the Eastern Province city of Khobar.

Asghar was the latest of 74 people, foreigners and Saudis, to be executed in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

The oil-rich Gulf state saw the third highest number of executions in the world last year after Iran and Iraq, according to Amnesty International whose figures did not include China.

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 can also be penalized by death.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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