By Staff writer
At least 20 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since August 4 in what human rights groups have said is a “deeply disturbing” surge
Saudi Arabia has beheaded on average almost one person per day during August, according to a collation of media reports and international human rights organisations.
Amnesty International has described the surge in executions as “deeply disturbing”.
According to reports published by the government-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA), and reported by Arabian Business, there have been at least 20 executions since August 4.
In the latest case, Saudi citizen Mohammed Al Taroti was executed on Tuesday in the eastern region of Qatif after he was convicted of killing fellow national Abdullah Abu Sarir with his car following a dispute, the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by SPA.
The number of recent executions is higher than the 17 recorded in the previous six months and takes the total for this year to at least 35.
Saudi Arabia typically has one of the highest rates of executions each year, according to Amnesty International, which said the kingdom carried out the fourth highest number, 79, last year.
Last week, two sets of brothers from the same extended family were killed for smuggling a “large quantity of hashish”.
Amnesty has said the men’s confessions were made while being tortured, while Human Rights Watch reiterated that international standards require that capital punishment should only be reserved for the “most serious crimes” in countries that still use it.
Other crimes that have been punished by death this month include black magic sorcery, while a Nepalese maid was killed after the two-year-old son in her care died.
Amnesty has said a mentally ill man, Hajras Al Qurey, was sentenced to death for drug trafficking “after an unfair trial” and was due to be executed on August 25. There has been no confirmation of his death.
“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious,” HRW Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
“There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.
“The current surge in executions in Saudi Arabia is yet another dark stain on the kingdom’s human rights record.”