Outcry as Saudi Arabia executes six people in one day to bring 2017 death penalty total to 44

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Largest number of capital punishments carried out in single day so far this year

Protesters against the beheading of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia stage a mock beheading Rex

Saudi Arabia executed six people for murder and drug offences on Monday, thought to be the highest number in a single day since the year began.

The deaths are thought to bring the number of executions claimed by the government so far in 2017 to 44.

A Pakistani man was killed for drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals were killed for homicide, the interior minister said.

The kingdom has one of the highest execution rates in the world, handing down the death penalty for terror, murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking crimes.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia executed a record number of 158 people. Last year, it executed 153 people, a slight decrease.

A June report by human rights organisation Reprieve found that 41 per cent of those executed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 were killed for non-violent acts such as attending political protests.

The group said it was concerned migrant workers in the country were being tricked into smuggling drugs and then executed.

At least 23 per cent of death sentences for drug offences in the oil-rich country are Pakistanis, according to analysis by Reprieve.

In May 2017 – following a visit from President Donald Trump – a Saudi criminal court upheld several death sentences handed down to protestors, including disabled man Munir Adam.

UN experts have called for an end to executions for non-violent offences, but authorities claim the death penalty acts as a useful deterrent to criminals.

In pictures: Protests around the world over Saudi executions

Protests around the world over Saudi executions

Kashmiri Shiite Muslims, carrying a placard with the portrait of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, shout slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir,

Indian police used tear smoke and rubber bullets to disperse Shiite Muslims who were protesting after Saudi Arabia announced the execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday along with 46 others, including three other Shiite dissidents and a number of al-Qaida militants.

Shane Enright, Global Trade Union Advisor for Amnesty International, addresses demonstrators as they protest outside the Saudi Embassy in London, following Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 prisoners in one day, including a top Shiite cleric

Iranian protestor burn pictures of a member of the Saudi royal family in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Tehran, Iran, 02 January 2016. Protesters have stormed the Saudi embassy building in the Iranian capital of Tehran early Sunday amid backlash over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Flammable substance was seen thrown at the building as protests gained steam over the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Reports states, protesters taking down a Saudi flag and burned the building.

Shiite Muslims hold placards with pictures of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution in Saudi Arabia was announced Saturday, during a demonstration to condemn his execution, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 in Peshawar, Pakistan

A Kashmir Shiite Muslim shouts slogan from Indian police vehicle after he was detained during a protest in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir,

In 2016, Ridyadh claimed the execution of a royal, Prince Turki Bin Saud Al-Kabir showed it cared about "security, justice and safety for all".

The most common form of execution in the kingdom, which enforces ultra-conservative Islamic laws, are beheadings with a sword.

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