Saudi Arabia has beheaded its 110th prisoner this year

The Islamic Kingdom is in the top five countries in the world for putting people to death, according to Amnesty International

Henry Austin
Wednesday 05 August 2015 00:25

When Saudi Arabia beheaded Mugrib al-Thanyan on Monday it brought the number of people decapitated in the kingdom this year to 110.

Al-Thanyan was executed in Eastern Province after being found guilty of shooting a fellow Saudi dead following a dispute, according to a statement from the country’s ministry of interior.

The Islamic Kingdom is in the top five countries in the world for putting people to death, according to rights group Amnesty International who ranked number three in 2014 after China and Iran.

However, the number of executions this year is alarming groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW), who estimated that there were only 88 executions in 2014. The current figure beheading figure was worked out by the Agence France Presse agency.

When the country passed 100 executions two months ago, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, Sarah Leah Whitson accused the country of waging a “campaign of death.”

But there has been no let-up in the number of beheadings and there are fears the nation will surpass its modern-day execution record of 192, set back in 1995.

Saudi Arabia advertised eight new executioners in May to carry out and increasing number of death sentences.

No special qualifications were needed for the jobs whose main role is “executing a judgement of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said.

While many countries have establish minimum and maximum sentences for different crimes, or a penal code, in Saudi Arabia only a handful of crimes carry specific punishments.

These include murder, adultery and “consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex, all of which carry a death sentence, according to Death Penalty Worldwide.

Sorcery and witchcraft is also on that list.

Therefore, “for many crimes what constitutes a crime, the proof required to prove it, and the sentence it carries are entirely up to a judge to decide,” according to HRW.

“It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia executes so many people, but to execute people convicted in nonviolent drug offenses shows just how wanton these executions are,” said Whitson in her July interview.

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