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Saudi Arabia beheads five people for murder, drug smuggling

Four Saudi citizens and one Syrian national have been executed, according to Saudi authorities.

The square where public executions take place in Riyadh.
The square where public executions take place in Riyadh.
Image: Toby Melville/PA Archive/Press Association Images

SAUDI AUTHORITIES have beheaded four Saudi citizens for murder and a Syrian national for drug smuggling, the interior ministry said.

Three Saudi nationals were executed in the kingdom’s eastern Qatif region for stabbing and then shooting to death an Indian, Kohimo Ahmad, after robbing the shop where he worked, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Hussein bin Ahmad Shweikhat, Abdel Aziz bin Hasan al-Maatouq and Hussein bin Ibrahim al-Maatouq were beheaded after the three were found guilty of having stabbed and then shot Ahmad with an automatic rifle.

In a separate case, Khaled bin Saeed al-Asmari, was executed in the town of Abhaa in the kingdom’s southern region of Asir for stabbing to death fellow Saudi, Abdullah bin Saad al-Masmaa, after a dispute, the ministry said.

And William Hatoum, a Syrian, was executed in the northern region of Jawf after being found guilty of smuggling drugs into the ultra-conservative kingdom, it said.

Hatoum was the third Syrian national to be executed in Saudi Arabia for drug smuggling since January.

The latest beheadings bring to 45 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.

Under the AFP count, at least 76 people were beheaded in 2011, while rights group Amnesty International put the number of executions last year at 79.

The death penalty in Saudi Arabia applies to a wide range of offences including rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking, as well as murder, as stipulated by Islamic sharia law.

- (c) AFP, 2012

China is the world’s ‘number one executioner’ – Amnesty report >

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