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The conservative Islamic kingdom executed 87 people in 2014, according to an AFP tally. —AFP/File
The conservative Islamic kingdom executed 87 people in 2014, according to an AFP tally. —AFP/File

RIYADH: Ten Pakistanis have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far in 2015, as the kingdom's total number of executions rose to 88 on Tuesday.

The interior ministry identified the latest to be put to death as Saudi nationals Awad al-Rowaili and Lafi al-Shammary, who were convicted of smuggling amphetamines. They were executed in the northern region of Jawf, the ministry said in statements carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Another Saudi, Mohammed al-Shihri, was separately put to death in the southwestern region of Asir for murder.

The conservative Islamic kingdom executed 87 people in 2014, according to an AFP tally.

Those beheaded this year include Siti Zainab, an Indonesian domestic worker convicted of murder despite concerns about her mental health, according to the Indonesian newspaper Kompas. Jakarta summoned Riyadh's ambassador over her case, a rare diplomatic incident linked to Saudi Arabia's executions, around half of which involve foreigners.

Also among this year's dead are at least eight Yemenis, 10 Pakistanis, Syrians, Jordanians, and individuals from Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Chad, Eritrea and Sudan. Saudi Arabia ranked among the world's top five executioners in 2014, according to Amnesty.

Under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law, drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death. Executions are carried out in public, mostly by chopping off the condemned person's head with a sword.

A surge in executions began towards the end of the reign of King Abdullah, who died on January 23, but accelerated this year under his successor King Salman, in what Amnesty International has called an unprecedented “macabre spike”.

Activists are unable to explain specific reasons for the surge and officials have not commented. One activist said the death penalty is only carried out with the king's final approval.

"So if the king is strict he will sign this paper," said the activist, asking for anonymity.

Salman has adopted a more assertive foreign policy and in April promoted his powerful Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef to be crown prince and heir to the throne.

'Secret' trials

The Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said in a report that the death penalty in the kingdom is “often applied to powerless individuals with no government connection”.

Ali Adubisi, the group's director, told AFP that economic factors could be leading to a rise in drug crimes. Many are turning to the illegal business “because they are poor,” he said.

Drug and murder convictions account for the bulk of executions in Saudi Arabia.

But according to London-based Amnesty, only crimes of “intentional killings” meet the threshold for use of the death penalty under international human rights standards. It said court proceedings in the kingdom “fall far short” of global norms of fairness.

"Trials in death penalty cases are often held in secret. Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by lawyers" and may be convicted solely on the basis of 'confessions', Amnesty said in a report.

With the number of beheadings soaring, the civil service this month advertised for eight new “executors of retribution”.

In a country where government officials are not known for their openness, all executions are publicised by the official press agency, and the interior ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for the punishment.


Comments (25) Closed



Azi May 26, 2015 05:25pm

Notice how the locals that import drugs are rarely ever caught and punished.

Go on, lend them military force. They are after all taking good care of our people abroad /sarcasm.

ishaq May 26, 2015 05:32pm

and hundreds are languishing in jails

kashif siddiqui May 26, 2015 06:19pm

Death penalty in the kingdom is “often applied to powerless individuals with no government connection”, very true indeed. As I do remember that kingdom was not able to punish British nurse and two Americans involved in similar incidence. You may have any disease you like but avoid poverty at any cost!

Thinker May 26, 2015 06:31pm

Why...? why so many from one particular country ? there must be people from other nationalities.

Abdullah May 26, 2015 07:01pm

I am not sure what is our obsession with these figures. The fact is that these people are criminals and any foreign country has a right to prosecute them if they are found to be committing crimes against the law of land. I believe media just wants to stoke the issue for ratings and to keep the news alive. Next time one would read the same news under a different title e.g. "xx no of people executed in 3 years" etc. Pure media stunt, and nothing more.

surya May 26, 2015 07:04pm

Pakistanis getting hanged by Saudi -> PK govt helpless. Pakistanis Getting Bombed by Terrorists -> PK Police and security agencies helpless. Pakistanis getting abducted or killed by PK security agencies and army, PK Courts are helpless.

........ Overall... every where policitics..... People of Pakistan has to blame themselves for blindly supporting all the above systems.

citizen May 26, 2015 07:28pm

Saudi should not do this for the citizens of a friendly brothely islamic country which is also the most powerful country in Ummah..

Muhammad iqbal May 26, 2015 07:31pm

All these heroin smugglers cross the barriers of customs, ANF,FIA,scanners and still cross the borders. Somebody must be helping in their escape from Pakistan. Saudi Government must ask Pakistan government to control their staff at airports.

PHILOSOPHER May 26, 2015 09:36pm

And we were ready to send our troops for their security..

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 26, 2015 09:50pm

Where are the human right activists? Maybe, they are silent at the behest of the "big brother" because to make a protest in this case in not in the so-called national interest of the current American administration.

Dr talha ahmed May 26, 2015 10:57pm

I hope rule apply to rich and poor.

anil mumbai May 26, 2015 11:24pm

Alll they were criminals

Paul Anderson May 27, 2015 01:13am

When the Government is under threat by Pak Military, the place that Nawaz can call a home away from home is Saudi. Therefore, PM will not even think of talking to Saudi about these executions.

Haider Rehman May 27, 2015 01:24am

@anil mumbai Of course they are criminals. Thats why they were executed.

Haider Rehman May 27, 2015 01:24am

@Thinker 10 out of 88 executed were Pakistanis. Not the majority.

saeedmalik May 27, 2015 01:48am

If you are guilty then you must pay. No excuse. Being Muslim and non Muslim is not the issue.Let us clean our society with these monsters who ard destroying the future of our generation.

CYRUS May 27, 2015 01:53am

The Pakistanis were 11% of those executed. Think of that.

CYRUS May 27, 2015 01:57am

@ishaq

Beats working for a living. They have free food and plenty of time to pray.

CYRUS May 27, 2015 02:03am

@surya

    Including supporting the Afghan warlords who control the heroin business.
    In China the Chinese know the penalty if they are caught.  In Saudi Arabia the Pakistanis know the penalty if they are caught.
CYRUS May 27, 2015 02:22am

In Mecca the retail gold jewelry stores put a chain across the doorways with signs reading, "Gone to Prayer". No one goes into those stores and steals because they know exactly what will happen to them if they do. The Saudis are also aware that those who will be addicted to heroin will become drug dealers themselves, and thieves. They won't have Saudi Arabia overrun with thieves.

CYRUS May 27, 2015 02:24am

@Dr talha ahmed

    Saudi Arabia is not a nation filled with liberals.
Rashida Bibi May 27, 2015 04:45am

We don't value our citizens, do we?

Pk May 27, 2015 06:09am

Outsiders have no values in Saudi. But their time is coming . Kings Must go and freedom need to inflow. Someday they will pay the price with Their own sword .

Arshad Hussain May 27, 2015 12:29pm

They executed 50% of their own nationals. Then why to blame favorism. Also Dear Amnesty..... Saudia has the lowest crime Rate... Reason? Read the same article for that. Justice been done.

Mohan May 27, 2015 02:20pm

That is why incidents of rape,murder and robbery are rare in Saudi Arabia.