First Saudi execution after Ramazan pause

Authorities carry out the sentence against the convict in the Qassim region

Afp July 23, 2015
Amnesty International ranks Saudi Arabia among the world's top three executioners of 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia carried out its first execution in five weeks on Thursday after a pause for Ramazan, beheading one of its citizens convicted of a double murder.

Sayir al-Rasheedi was found guilty of fatally shooting two Saudi brothers in a dispute, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the interior ministry.

Authorities carried out the sentence against him in the Qassim region.

SPA had reported no executions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Eidul Fitr holiday which followed.

Read: Saudi beheads Pakistani, 84 executions in 2015

The latest beheading brings to 103 the number of executions in the kingdom so far this year, a sharp increase on the 87 recorded during the whole of 2014, according to AFP tallies.

This year's figure is still below the record 192 which human rights group Amnesty International said were carried out in 1995.

Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi authorities of waging a ‘campaign of death’ by executing more people in the first six months of this year than in all of last year.

Read: In the last six months, Pakistan has executed more people than Saudi Arabia

Echoing the concerns of other activists, the New York-based group said it has documented ‘due process violations’ in Saudi Arabia's judiciary that make it difficult for defendants to get fair trials even in capital cases.

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

The interior ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for carrying out the punishment. All allegations have been refuted, rejected