Saudi Arabia Carried Out 130 Beheading So Far In 2017
In a statement cited by the SPA news agency, Saudi Arabia carried out the 130th execution of 2017.

The interior ministry said on Nov. 28, that Saudi Arabia executed six Yemeni men convicted of murder and robbery and a Saudi man for smuggling pills. Drug and murder convictions account for the bulk of executions in Saudi Arabia. These last executions take the total number of judicial beheadings in the country so far this year to 130.

The executions in Saudi Arabia are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. A surge in executions began towards the end of the reign of King Abdullah, who died on January 23. The kingdom has one of the highest rates of execution in the world.

Recently, The Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said in a report that the death penalty in Saudi Arabia is “often applied to powerless individuals with no government connection”.

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Under Saudi Arabia’s strict legal codes, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery, and apostasy are all punishable by beheading. The rights watchdog has recently said Saudi judicial proceedings “fall far short of global norms of fairness”.

Recently, Human rights organisation Amnesty International reported 153 people executed in 2016 by the Saudi government. Lynn Maalouf, the organisation’s Middle East Research Director said forty percent of this year’s executions were for drug-related offences, despite the use of the death penalty for such offences violating international human rights law. Saudi Arabia is one of the most prolific executioners in the world, with more than 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2016.

“Since July 2017, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree with an average of five people put to death per week,” Maalouf said.

She added that if the Saudi authorities are truly intent on making reforms, they must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty completely.

The convicts in Saudi Arabia are executed by the sword and their corpses are then dangled from a helicopter to make sure the public could see the result of the execution. Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi regime to abolish its “ghastly” beheading processions.

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