Women attend a rally in Tehran, Iran to protest Saudi Arabia's execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Shiite cleric, seen in posters. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) FILE
Women attend a rally in Tehran, Iran to protest Saudi Arabia's execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Shiite cleric, seen in posters. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) FILE

Saudi Arabia executes six in a day

Saudi Arabia executed six people for murder and drug offences on Monday, thought to be the highest number in a single day since the year began.

The deaths are thought to bring the number of executions claimed by the government so far in 2017 to 44.

A Pakistani man was killed for drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals were killed for homicide, the interior minister said.

The kingdom has one of the highest execution rates in the world, handing down the death penalty for terror, murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking crimes.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia executed a record number of 158 people. Last year, it executed 153 people, a slight decrease.

A June report by human rights organisation Reprieve found that 41 per cent of those executed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 were killed for non-violent acts such as attending political protests.

The group said it was concerned migrant workers in the country were being tricked into smuggling drugs and then executed.

At least 23 per cent of death sentences for drug offences in the oil-rich country are Pakistanis, according to analysis by Reprieve.

In May 2017 - following a visit from President Donald Trump - a Saudi criminal court upheld several death sentences handed down to protestors, including disabled man Munir Adam.

UN experts have called for an end to executions for non-violent offences, but authorities claim the death penalty acts as a useful deterrent to criminals.

In 2016, Ridyadh claimed the execution of a royal, Prince Turki Bin Saud Al-Kabir showed it cared about "security, justice and safety for all".

The most common form of execution in the kingdom, which enforces ultra-conservative Islamic laws, are beheadings with a sword.



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