Number of executions in Saudi Arabia crosses 100 this year

Four men were executed in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said, taking the total number of executions so far this year in the kingdom to 102.

The four Saudi men were convicted of killing six people in a land dispute, according to the ministry, which said that the executions were carried out in the western town of Taif.

Saudi Arabia is among the top executioners in the world, according to international rights groups.

On January 2, authorities beheaded 47 people, including a prominent Shiite cleric, on terrorism-related charges.

Some 137 people were executed in the Gulf monarchy in 2015 convicted of different offences.

Saudi Arabia imposes the death penalty for murder, armed robbery, banditry, rape, drug-trafficking and witchcraft.

The kingdom, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, has repeatedly rejected calls to end the death penalty, saying the punishment is aimed at deterring would-be offenders.

There were no beheadings during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began in the kingdom on June 6. However, capital punishment resumed on Sunday when authorities put a Saudi murderer to death.

Saudi Arabia passes 'grim watershed' as it executes 100th person this year

In response to this news, Philip Luther Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme said:

"This is a grim watershed. With its 100th execution this year, Saudi Arabia is speeding along in its dogged use of a cruel and inhuman punishment, mindless of justice and human rights.

"At this rate, the Kingdom's executioners will soon match or exceed the number of people they put to death last year - which, at 158, was the highest recorded figure since 1995.

"Many of those executed have been convicted after deeply unfair trials, as a result of flaws in the justice system. The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty once and for all."

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