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Saudi announces first executions for drug crimes since 2020

Illustrative: A woman is seen kneeling on the ground ahead of her execution in Saudi Arabi as a swordsman dressed in white stands above her, January 17, 2015. (Screen Capture: YouTube)
Illustrative: A woman is seen kneeling on the ground ahead of her execution in Saudi Arabi as a swordsman dressed in white stands above her, January 17, 2015. (Screen Capture: YouTube)

Saudi Arabia says it has executed two Pakistani nationals for smuggling heroin, the first time the death penalty had been administered for drug crimes in nearly three years, according to an AFP tally.

The executions draw a rebuke from Amnesty International, which says they flew in the face of a moratorium announced in January 2021 on the death penalty for drug offenses.

The executions were carried out in the Riyadh region, where the capital is located, the official Saudi Press Agency says.

The move demonstrates “the keenness of the government… to combat all kinds of drugs because of the grave harm they cause to the individual and society,” it says.

The report did not provide details about the mode of executions, but the wealthy Gulf kingdom has often administered death sentences by beheading.

Saudi Arabia sparked an international outcry in March when it executed 81 people in a single day for terrorism-related offenses.

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