Saudi Arabia heading for record number of executions with 43 people already killed in 2019
The most recent execution was that of a Syrian man who was put to death on March 13 for smuggling amphetamine pills
Saudi Arabia, with 43 people already executed in the desert kingdom, is on its way to set the record for most number of beheadings and crucifixions this year. Reports state that the kingdom's execution rate in the first three months of this year has surpassed the rate of executions of the first three months of the past few years.
The most recent execution was recorded of a Syrian man who was put to death on March 13 for smuggling amphetamine pills, according to Daily Mail. Reports state that if the present rate of execution continues, at least 172 people will have been put to death by the end of the year.
In the last three months this year, 21 people have been beheaded for drug offenses, while the rest have been persecuted for other crimes which carry the death penalty too, including treason, renouncing Islam, adultery, murder, burglary, rape, espionage and terrorism.
Although there has been a noted upward trend in the number of executions since 2000, Saudi Arabia is still in third place after China and Iran. China executed 249 while Iran executed 285 people in 2018. Iraq and Pakistan come at 4th and 5th place in the list. The list was compiled by multiple human rights groups like Death Penalty Worldwide, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
According to the figures released by watchdog organization Reprieve, in December, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia doubled under the new ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who came to power in June 2017. The figures state that the number of executions between June 2017 and March 2018 was 133, compared to just 67 in the preceding eight months before he was installed.
Almost half of the people executed were reportedly poor migrants from South Asia who had been coerced into smuggling drugs. "These are typically poor migrant workers, coerced into smuggling drugs in their intestines," said Reprieve.
The organization said that there had been nearly 700 executions in Saudi Arabia since 2014, 13 killings per month on average. At least 47 people were killed in one day across 12 different provinces of the kingdom in January 2016 after being convicted of terrorism offenses, in the country's largest mass execution since 1980.
Saudi Arabia, in October last year, beheaded an Indonesian maid Tuti Tursilawati, without letting her family or Indonesian authorities know about the execution.