A view of the interior ministry in Riyadh, July 14, 2004
A view of the interior ministry in Riyadh, July 14, 2004 © Patrick Baz - AFP/File
A view of the interior ministry in Riyadh, July 14, 2004
AFP
Last updated: August 27, 2015

Saudi executes four after moratorium call, bringing total number of executions to 127 this year

Saudi Arabia Wednesday executed three of its citizens for murder and a Syrian convicted of drugs smuggling, a day after Amnesty International urged a moratorium on rising executions in the conservative kingdom.

The executions brought the number to 127 this year in Saudi Arabia, compared with 87 in 2014, according to AFP tallies compiled from interior ministry statements.

Saudi Nawaf al-Otaibi was executed in the western city of Taif after being convicted of shooting dead his father in a dispute, the interior ministry said.

Fellow Saudis Bandar al-Ghathim and Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Zahrani were executed in the country's southwest for murder, the ministry said in statements carried by state news agency SPA.

Syrian Ezzeddine al-Saleh was executed in the northern Jawf region for trafficking in amphetamines, the ministry said.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict legal practices, murder, armed robbery, rape, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Most people sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded, but sometimes firing squads are used.

Amnesty International on Tuesday criticised Saudi Arabia's "deeply flawed judicial system" as it issued a new report on the rising number of executions.

The London-based group criticised trials it said "blatantly flout international standards", citing secret hearings, denying defendants access to lawyers and convictions based on confessions "obtained under torture".

"Saudi Arabia's sharia (Islamic) law-based justice system lacks a criminal code, leaving definitions of crimes and punishments vague and widely open to interpretation," Amnesty said.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most prolific executioners, along with China, Iran, Iraq and the United States.

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