Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Pakistani national and a Saudi man after sentencing them to death for drug trafficking and murder, officials say.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the Pakistani man known as Benyameen Ali Ahmed was beheaded in the port city of Jeddah on Tuesday.
Saudi sources said the man was found guilty of smuggling an undisclosed amount of heroin into the country. The drugs were allegedly found in capsules he had swallowed.
In a separate case, Nader bin Mussa al-Harbi, the Saudi national, was executed after a court found him guilty of murdering a compatriot, Bandar bin Muhya al-Harbi, over a dispute. He was beheaded in the northwestern city of Ha’il.
The beheadings bring to 51 the number of people executed across the kingdom so far this year. Last year, Saudi authorities executed 87 people, compared with 78 in 2013.
On March 18, Saudi Arabia beheaded a Syrian national after sentencing him to death on charges related to drug trafficking.
Saudi officials execute convicts by sword and then dangle their corpses from a helicopter to make sure the public could see the result of the execution.
Saudi authorities say the executions reveal the kingdom’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.”
The country has come under particular criticism from rights groups for the executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.
According to the London-based rights group, Amnesty International, 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 rule.