Saudi Arabia beheading by sword, executes 12 people in 10 days

Published on Nov 21, 2022 10:50 AM IST

Saudi Arabia: With this the total number of people executed this year to at least 132, exceeding those of 2020 and 2021 combined.

Saudi Arabia crown prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. (AFP)
Saudi Arabia crown prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia executed 12 people in 10 days for drug offences after a two-year hiatus, according to a rights organisation. The spate of executions, most of which are beheadings with a sword, suggests that the country is on track for a record year of executions despite Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman previously vowing to reduce such punishments.

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The defendants were sentenced to death after being imprisoned on non-violent drug charges and included three Pakistanis, four Syrians, two Jordanians and three Saudis, Telegraph reported. With this the total number of people executed this year to at least 132, exceeding those of 2020 and 2021 combined, AFP reported.

In 2018, Mohammed bin Salman had said that his administration had tried to “minimise” capital punishment with only those found guilty of murder or manslaughter being subject to capital punishment.

“His Majesty, the King, doesn’t wake up and just sign whatever he wants to sign. He works by the law, by the book,” he told Time Magazine.

In 2020, there were further hints of a softening on non-violent crime after Saudi Arabia proposed to change the law to end the death penalty after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

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Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018.

Maya Foa, director of rights organisation Reprieve, said: “Mohammed bin Salman has repeatedly touted his vision of progress, committing to reducing executions and ending the death penalty for drug offences. But as a bloody year of executions draws to a close, the Saudi authorities have begun executing drug offenders again, in large numbers and in secret.”

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