Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Pakistani national convicted of drug trafficking, bringing to 84 the number of such executions in the kingdom since the start of this year.
The convict, identified as Iftikhar Ahmed Mohammed Anayat, was beheaded in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The man was found guilty of attempting to traffic heroin into the kingdom in balloons concealed in his stomach.
In recent months, a significant number of foreign nationals and workers have been beheaded in the kingdom, triggering an outcry from human rights organizations.
On April 16, Saudi Arabia beheaded an Indonesian female domestic worker, just two days after executing another woman from the Southeast Asian country.
In January, authorities in Saudi Arabia publicly beheaded Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Muslim woman from Myanmar, by sword in the holy city of Mecca.
Footage of the execution showed Basim being dragged into a street and held down by four police officers.
“I did not kill, I did not kill,” she was heard to shout repeatedly.
Basim then screamed as a sword-wielding man struck her neck. Second and third blows completed the beheading and authorities swiftly removed her body from the road.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia beheaded a total of 87 alleged convicts.
Saudi authorities claim the executions show the kingdom’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.”
Saudi Arabia has come under particular criticism from human rights groups for the executions. Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world.
Muslim clerics have also slammed Riyadh for indicting and then executing suspects without giving them a chance to defend themselves, describing the Saudi authorities as uncivilized.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi law.
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