The Middle Eastern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia just executed it’s 100 prisoner on Monday, June 15th, putting the repressive, fundamentalist nation on pace for a record number of executions in 2015.
Amnesty International and other sources place Saudi Arabia among the top three nations worldwide in average annual executions of its citizens per capita.
Details on today’s execution in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia beheaded a Syrian drug trafficker Monday, adding up to a total of 100 executions in the nation this year. This barely mid-year number is already well above the 87 people put to death last year.
The execution occurred in the northern region of Jawf. According to the Saudi Interior Ministry statement, Syrian Ismael al-Tawm smuggled “a large amount of banned amphetamine pills into the kingdom.”
The convicted drug smuggler was put to death based on the country’s strict interpretation of Sharia law, where crimes including murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all eligible for death sentences. Of note, public executions in Saudi Arabia are typically conducted by cutting off the head of the bound prisoner with a sword.
The 100th execution so far this year is a lot, but still a good bit less than the 192 killed by the state in Saudi Arabia in 1995.
Statement from Amnesty International and the UN
“Almost half of the executions carried out so far this year (in Saudi Arabia) have been for drug-related offences, which don’t fall into a recognized international category of ‘most serious crimes,’ and the use of the death penalty for such offences violates international law,” according to a statement on Amnesty International’s website.
Furthermore, according to a UN special rapporteur, the “fast pace” of executions in Saudi Arabia is “very disturbing”.
“If it continues at this pace we will have double the number of executions, or more than double the number of executions, that we had last year,” Christof Heyns of the UN told AFP on May 27.
For a country of just 29 million people, the number of individuals executed is “very high,” Heyns said, continuing to note that Saudi Arabia “is going against the stream” as execution figures have been dropping globally for the last few years.