RIYADH: Saudi Arabia executed a convicted Pakistani heroin smuggler on Tuesday, bringing the number of people put to death in the kingdom this year to 138.

Nimat Allah Mola Baksh had been found guilty of smuggling the drugs inside his body, the interior ministry said in a statement.

He was put to death in the kingdom's east.

Most Saudi executions are carried out by beheading with a sword, in what the ministry says is a deterrent.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of the trials.

They also say the death penalty should not be applied in drug cases.

According to AFP tallies, Baksh was the 138th Saudi or foreigner put to death by the kingdom this year, compared with 87 in 2014.

London-based Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia had the world's third-highest number of executions last year, far behind China and Iran, and ahead of Iraq and the United States.

Under the kingdom's strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Saudi court proceedings “fall far short” of global norms of fairness, according to the rights watchdog.

Saudi Arabia has carried out around 80 executions annually since 2011. In comparison, Iran has executed more than 1,000 people since January last year, the UN special rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed said in March.