Last updated: 2 September, 2014

Saudi Arabia beheads 4 drug traffickers

Three Syrians and an Iranian convicted of drug trafficking were executed by the sword in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the interior ministry announced.

Syrians Hamud Hassoun, Hassan Musalamani and Yussef 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, beheaded in the northern Jawf region, were part of the same drug-trafficking ring.

An Iranian, Reda Idrisawi, was put to death in Eastern Province after he was convicted of trafficking “a large amount of narcotic hashish by sea”, another SPA statement said.

The beheadings increased to 45 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 alone.

HRW said eight of those executed 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.