03/07/2016, 09.54
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Riyadh carries out another beheading. 70 executions in 2016

Alaa al-Zahrani was beheaded for killing a person by stoning. Most of the death sentences imposed for murder and drug trafficking. Activists and international organizations are fighting to get fairer trials and less cruel executions.


Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi Arabia yesterday executed a Saudi man accused of murder, bringing to 70 the number of executions carried out in 2016. According to reports from the Saudi Ministry of Interior, Alaa al-Zahrani was killed Abdullah al-Sumairi by stoning him to death. He was sentenced to death by city court of Jeddah, on the Red Sea.

Last year, Saudi Arabia carried out 153 death sentences, most of them for drug trafficking and murder. This was the highest number in 20 years.

At the beginning of 2016 Riyadh executed 47 people accused of "terrorism"; including the Shiite dignitary Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a leading figure of protest against the Saudi regime. The killing sparked outrage- not only diplomatic - between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite), which is likely to further inflame the already complicated picture Middle East.

Most death sentences in the Arab country are executed by decapitation.

For years the main Human Rights associations and many Western governments have been fighting to force the Saudi kingdom (Sunni Wahhabi) for fairer trials and less cruel executions. Saudi Arabia - where there is a strict observance of sharia, Islamic law - is the only country in the world where the death sentence can be executed by beheading in the public square.

Capital punishment in the Kingdom is handed down for murder, armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking, but also for witchcraft and sodomy. No less cruel are the sentences for minor crimes such as theft and the crime of opinion, which in addition to imprisonment, involve the cutting of the hand or foot and public flogging.

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