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Saudi Arabia beheads drug smuggler, murderer

RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi authorities on Wednesday beheaded a Pakistani for smuggling drugs and a national for killing a compatriot, the interior ministry said, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom this year to nine.

Mohammed Asharaf Ramadan was caught attempting to smuggle into the kingdom an amount of heroin that he swallowed, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

He was executed in Riyadh.

In another case, Saudi national Turki Ahmed al-Salami, was executed in the southwestern Asir region after he was convicted of shooting dead Salman Subaykhi, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Saudi Arabia beheaded 78 people in 2013, according to an AFP count.

Last year, the UN High Commission for Human Rights denounced a “sharp increase in the use of capital punishment” since 2011 in the kingdom.

According to figures from Amnesty International, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia jumped from 27 in 2010, of whom five were foreigners, to 82 in 2011, including 28 foreigners.

In 2012, the number of executions slipped slightly to 79 people, among them 27 foreign nationals.

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


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