Saudi Arabia BEHEADS 81 people in biggest mass execution in single day

Saudi Arabia BEHEADS 81 people in biggest mass execution in single day
In total, 73 Saudis, seven Yemenis and one Syrian were executed (Getty Images)

In its largest mass execution carried out in a single day, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 12, executed 81 people convicted of numerous crimes. The people who were executed were reportedly "convicted of various crimes, including the murdering of innocent men, women and children". The criminals included members of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State group and also backers of Yemen’s Houthi rebels. In total, 73 Saudis, seven Yemenis and one Syrian were executed.

"The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process, which found them guilty of committing multiple heinous crimes that left a large number of civilians and law enforcement officers dead," the state-run Saudi Press Agency said. "The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world." Saudi state television said that those who were executed “followed the footsteps of Satan” in carrying out their crimes.


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Crown Prince Mohammed, since taking power, has liberalized life in the kingdom significantly. He allowed the opening of movie theatres and let women drive. He is also known for defanging the country's religious police. However, the crown prince ordered the killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the US intelligence agencies believe.

Excerpts of an interview with The Atlantic magazine revealed a discussion in which the crown prince spoke up about the death penalty. He said that a “high percentage” of executions were halted through the payment of so-called “blood money” settlements to families that were grieving.

“Well about the death penalty, we got rid of all of it, except for one category, and this one is written in the Quran, and we cannot do anything about it, even if we wished to do something, because it is clear teaching in the Quran,” A transcript published by the Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya quoted the prince as saying.

“If someone killed someone, another person, the family of that person has the right, after going to the court, to apply capital punishment, unless they forgive him. Or if someone threatens the life of many people, that means he has to be punished by the death penalty.” He added: “Regardless if I like it or not, I don’t have the power to change it.”

Another mass execution was carried out by the kingdom in January 2016. Back then, 47 people were killed, including a prominent opposition Shiite cleric who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom. In 2019, 37 Saudi citizens, mostly minority Shiites, were beheaded by the kingdom for alleged terrorism-related crimes.

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