RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday put to death a Pakistani man convicted of drug smuggling, bringing to 93 the number of executions in the kingdom this year.

Mohammed Ishaq Thawab Gul had been found guilty of trafficking heroin into the kingdom, the Saudi interior ministry said.

Most people put to death in the Gulf country are beheaded with a sword.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” on a single day in January.

According to rights group Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia had the third-highest number of executions last year — at least 158.

That was far behind Pakistan which executed 326, and Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, which executed at least 977, said Amnesty whose figures exclude secretive China.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP count.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia and say the death penalty should not be applied in drugs cases.

The interior ministry, however, said the government “is keen on fighting drugs of all kinds due to their serious damage to individuals and the society”.

Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

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