Middle East

Saudi Arabia beheads 3 Syrian drug traffickers

Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki. (AFP)

RIYADH: Three Syrians convicted of drug trafficking were executed by the sword in Saudi Arabia Tuesday, the Interior Ministry announced.

Hamoud Hassoun, Hassan Musalamani, and Youssef al-Halqi were all arrested with a "large amount of banned amphetamine pills," said three separate statements on the official SPA news agency.

The agency did not state if the three were part of the same drug-trafficking ring.

Their beheadings in the northern Jawf region increased to 44 the number of executions carried out in the desert kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

Human Rights Watch last month expressed alarm at the surge in the number of executions in the country, where some 19 people were beheaded between August 4 and 20.

HRW said eight of those beheaded had been convicted of non-violent offences such as drug trafficking and "sorcery," and described the use of the death penalty in their cases as "particularly egregious."

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic sharia law.





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