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Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani for Afghan’s murder Number of executions this year reaches 34

RIYADH, Aug 20, (AFP): A Pakistani national was beheaded by sword in the south west of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for the murder of an Afghan, the interior ministry said. Mohammed Ayub Ajab Khan was convicted of having killed Khair Mohammed Saz by striking him with several blows from a metallic object, according to a ministry statement carried by official SPA news agency.

The execution raises to 34 the number of executions announced in Saudi Arabia so far this year, according to an AFP tally. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has large communities of people from Asian countries, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rights watchdog Amnesty International on Monday denounced in a statement what it called a “disturbing surge” in the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. “The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions,” it said after two sets of brothers were beheaded on Monday after being convicted of drug smuggling.

The rights group said Monday’s beheadings brought the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks to 17 — a rate of more than one execution per day. “The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing deterioration. The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice,” Amnesty’s Said Boumedouha said. Last year, there were 78 executions in Saudi Arabia and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced a “sharp increase in the use of capital punishment”. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic sharia law.

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