Saudi Arabia on track to beat annual record of 192 executions
A man has been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number of executions in the Kingdom to 110 for the year so far. This is already a 26-percent increase on the number of people put to death in 2014.
Mugrib al-Thanyan was executed after he was found guilty and sentenced to death for shooting and killing a fellow citizen following a dispute, a statement from the Interior Ministry read.
The man was sentenced to death according to the nation's strict version of Sharia law, under which such crimes as murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking are punishable by death. Public executions are mostly conducted by decapitating the accused with a sword.
He is the 110th person to be executed in the country in 2015 and Saudi Arabia has already seen a 126-percent increase in death sentences. In 2014, 87 people were executed.
The number of executions in 2015 is catching up with the Kingdom’s all-time annual record of 192, which was documented by Amnesty International in 1995. The watchdog has been scathing of the Kingdom’s human rights record, saying they “fall far short” of global norms.
“Almost half of the executions carried out so far this year have been for drug-related offences, which don’t fall into a recognized international category of ‘most serious crimes,’ and the use of the death penalty for such offences violates international law,” a statement on Amnesty International’s website read in May.
The “fast pace” of executions in Saudi Arabia was deemed “very disturbing” by a UN special rapporteur.
“If it continues at this pace we will have double the number of executions, or more than double the number of executions, that we had last year,” Christof Heyns, who submits annual reports to the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly, told AFP on May 27.
Also in May, Saudi Arabia, which executes more criminals than any nation except China and Iran, announced it wanted to hire eight new executioners, following a surge in executions witnessed under new King Salman’s rule.
The job description, published online, mentioned that no special training was required. The executioners would be required to behead condemned criminals in public as well as carry out amputations on those convicted of lesser offenses, Reuters reported.
The executioners would be considered as ‘religious functionaries’, since they would be serving religious courts and be on the lower end of the civil service pay scale, the ad said.