May 22, 2024

AFP, RIYADH: Saudi Arabia executed seven people for
“terrorism” offences on Tuesday, state media said, the highest single-day
figure since 81 were put to death in March 2022.

The seven were convicted of “creating and financing terrorist organisations
and entities”, the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the Gulf
kingdom’s interior ministry.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most prolific users of capital punishment,
has now executed 29 people this year according to an AFP tally of official
announcements, after putting 170 to death in 2023.

The kingdom, notorious for beheadings, drew a wave of condemnation from
around the world with 81 executions in one day nearly two years ago.

The nationalities of the seven executed on Tuesday were not revealed, but
their names and titles indicated they were Saudi.

They were convicted of “adopting a terrorist approach that calls for
bloodshed, establishing and financing terrorist organisations and entities,
and communicating and dealing with them with the aim of disrupting the
security and stability of society” and endangering national security, the
official news agency said.

The report did not provide further details of the accusations against them.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia executed more people than any other country besides
China and Iran, Amnesty International has said.

Those executed last year included 33 people accused of terrorism-related
crimes and two soldiers convicted of treason.

There were 38 executions in December, the deadliest month in 2023.

Saudi authorities deem the executions to be necessary to “maintain public
order” and compatible with their interpretation of sharia law, the Islamic
law code based on the teachings of the Koran.

Activists say the kingdom’s continued embrace of capital punishment hurts
efforts by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to transform the
world’s biggest crude oil exporter into a business and tourism hub.

Executions undermine the image of a more open, tolerant society that is
central to Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 reform agenda, activists argue.

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