The Amnesty International has slammed the Saudi Arabia over beheading dozens of convicts, including foreign drug traffickers, since the start of the year, calling the move as “unprecedented pace of executions in the kingdom.”
Those put to the sword have included five Pakistanis, an Indian, two Jordanians, two Syrians and a Yemeni, with few foreign governments willing to publicly appeal for clemency from the wealthy Gulf state.
Three beheadings in a single day on Tuesday — one for rape and two for murder — took the total so far this year to 38, according to an AFP tally.
That is about three times the number over the same period in 2014.
Amnesty recorded 11 executions from January 1-26 last year, 17 for that period in 2013, and nine in 2012.
The end-of-year figures turned out to be all about the same, “despite the vast differences in pace and distribution of executions throughout the year,” Amnesty’s Saudi Arabia researcher Sevag Kechichian told AFP.
“The current rate, however, has been truly unprecedented.”
Meanwhile, the London-based Amnesty said there is no evidence the current “alarming spike” in Saudi executions is connected with the battle against IS or “terrorism”.
“It would… be a stretch to say that this is an attempt to deter violence,” because almost half of this year’s executions were for drug-related non-violent crimes, Kechichian said.
“It is impossible to tell what exactly is driving these numbers”, Kechichian added.