10/03/2017, 09.53
SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia reaches one hundred executions in 2017

The convict was executed for the murder of a fellow citizen. Recently the sentence was confirmed in appeal. Since July, the authorities have conducted an average of five executions per week. Activists denounce government's justice "frenzy". Among the reforms to promote the "moratorium on the death penalty".

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Riyadh authorities yesterday executed a Saudi citizen, bringing to 100 the total number of people executed since the beginning of the year. This is reported by the official Spa news agency, according to which the man had been sentenced to death for the murder of a fellow citizen; recently the appeal court had confirmed the ruling, thus giving the go-ahead to the executioner.

In a note, Amnesty International condemned what it calls a "frenzy" in executions by the "government of Saudi Arabia"; in particular, they added, since the beginning of July, "with an average of five people being killed every week".

The 100th death sentence occurred in the context of a series of recent reforms by the ultraconservative kingdom, guided by a rigorous view of Islam, the latest of which lifted a ban on women driving. Lynn Maalouf, AI leader for the Middle East noted: "If the Saudi authorities wish to sincerely promote reforms, they must immediately establish a moratorium on executions, the first step towards the total abolition of the death penalty."

In 2016 Riyadh executed a total of 153 people. After China and Iran, the Saudi kingdom is one of the countries in the world where there is greater use of capital punishment. Most death sentences in the Arab country are executed by decapitation.

For years the major human rights associations and many western governments have been fighting to impose more equitable trials and less cruel executions on the Saudi kingdom (Sunni wahabita). Saudi Arabia - where strict sharia law, Islamic law is applied - is the only country in the world where the death penalty can be executed by public decapitation.

Capital punishment in the kingdom is foreseen for murders, armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking, but also for sorcery and sodomy. No less cruel are the convictions for minor crimes, such as theft and crime of opinion, which in addition to the jail, foresee the cutting off of the hand or foot and public flogging

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