Saudi executes 49th convict in first week of 2016

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday executed a citizen convicted of murder, raising to 49 the number of death sentences carried out in the first week of 2016, the interior ministry announced.


Saud bin Mohammed al-Shalwi was convicted of shooting dead Mohammed bin Safar al-Harithi following a dispute, the ministry said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency.

He was executed in the western city of Taif, it said.

On Saturday, the kingdom executed 47 men convicted of “terrorism”, including Al-Qaeda-linked militants and Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death has prompted a diplomatic row with Iran.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday cut ties with Iran after protesters against Nimr’s execution torched the kingdom’s diplomatic missions in the Shia-dominated Islamic republic.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people convicted of various crimes, including drug trafficking, up from 87 in 2014, according to AFP tallies.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for two decades.

However, the number is way behind that of Iran and China.

Under the kingdom’s strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Most executions in the kingdom are carried out by beheading with a sword.