Saudi Arabia beheads own citizen in Najran
Saudi Arabia has beheaded one of its own citizens after sentencing him to death on charges related to drug trafficking.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the man known as Saleh al-Yami was beheaded in the southern province of Najran on Monday.
The man was reportedly found guilty of smuggling an undisclosed amount of hashish and banned narcotic pills into the kingdom. Yami was also convicted of wounding several policemen during a confrontation.
The latest beheading brings to 57 the number of people executed across the kingdom so far this year.
On March 24, Riyadh beheaded a Pakistani national and a Saudi man after sentencing them to death for drug trafficking and murder.
A Syrian national had a similar fate on March 18, after a court had convicted him of smuggling amphetamines into the country.
Concern is growing about the increasing number of executions in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom has seen a surge in executions this year. Last year, Saudi authorities executed 87 people, compared with 78 in 2013.
Saudi officials execute convicts by sword and then dangle their corpses from a helicopter to make sure the public could see the result of the execution.
Saudi authorities say the executions reveal the kingdom’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.”
The kingdom has come under particular criticism from human rights groups for the executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.
Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world.
Muslim clerics have also slammed Riyadh for indicting and then executing suspects without giving them a chance to defend themselves, describing the Saudi authorities as uncivilized.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the Saudi rule.