RIYADH: Saudi Arabia executed a Pakistani national yesterday for smuggling drugs, taking to 86 the number of people the ultra-conservative kingdom has put to death this year. Shah Zaman Khan Sayyed had been found guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin and amphetamines into the kingdom, the interior ministry said. The sentence was carried out in the Riyadh region. Most people put to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword. The executions so far this year include 47 for “terrorism” carried out in a single day on January 2.
Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia had the third highest number of executions last year, at least 158. That was far behind Pakistan, which put to death 326 people, and Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, which executed at least 977, said Amnesty, whose figures exclude secretive China. The kingdom’s latest execution occurred just hours before US President Barack Obama arrived on an official visit. The British human rights organization Reprieve urged Obama to raise the case of three young men on death row who were minors at the time of their arrests. Among them is Ali al-Nimr, nephew of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was among the 47 people executed in January.-AFP