Outcry as Saudi Arabia executes six people in one day to bring 2017 death penalty total to 44

Largest number of capital punishments carried out in single day so far this year

Harriet Agerholm
Tuesday 11 July 2017 09:25 BST
Comments
Protesters against the beheading of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia stage a mock beheading
Protesters against the beheading of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia stage a mock beheading

Saudi Arabia executed six people for murder and drug offences on Monday, thought to be the highest number in a single day since the year began.

The deaths are thought to bring the number of executions claimed by the government so far in 2017 to 44.

A Pakistani man was killed for drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals were killed for homicide, the interior minister said.

The kingdom has one of the highest execution rates in the world, handing down the death penalty for terror, murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking crimes.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia executed a record number of 158 people. Last year, it executed 153 people, a slight decrease.

A June report by human rights organisation Reprieve found that 41 per cent of those executed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 were killed for non-violent acts such as attending political protests.

The group said it was concerned migrant workers in the country were being tricked into smuggling drugs and then executed.

At least 23 per cent of death sentences for drug offences in the oil-rich country are Pakistanis, according to analysis by Reprieve.

In May 2017 – following a visit from President Donald Trump – a Saudi criminal court upheld several death sentences handed down to protestors, including disabled man Munir Adam.

UN experts have called for an end to executions for non-violent offences, but authorities claim the death penalty acts as a useful deterrent to criminals.

In 2016, Ridyadh claimed the execution of a royal, Prince Turki Bin Saud Al-Kabir showed it cared about "security, justice and safety for all".

The most common form of execution in the kingdom, which enforces ultra-conservative Islamic laws, are beheadings with a sword.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in