The New Arab & agencies

Saudi Arabia executes seven people in one day

Saudi Arabia has executed 73 people this year. [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2018

Saudi Arabia had the third highest execution rate in the world in 2017, after China and Iran, according to Amnesty International.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed seven death row inmates who had been convicted of murder and drug trafficking, state media reported. 

Two Saudi citizens and three Chad nationals were executed after being sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of a Pakistani security guard, with the alleged intent of robbing the warehouse he was protecting, according to the state-run SPA agency. 

Another Saudi Arabian was executed for murder after setting a man on fire, SPA reported. 

A Lebanese national was executed for attempting to smuggle captagon into the kingdom, SPA said.

Captagon, a drug popular among fighters in war zones, usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances in pill form.

Tuesday's executions bring to 73 the total number of people put to death in the kingdom this year, according to a tally by AFP

The ultra-conservative kingdom has one of the world's highest rates of execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.

Saudi Arabia had the third highest execution rate in the world in 2017, after China and Iran, according to Amnesty International. 

Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, governed under a strict form of Islamic law.

The government says the death penalty is a deterrent for further crime.

In April, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, next in line to the throne, suggested the kingdom would consider changing the penalty from death to life in certain cases except murder, in an interview with Time Magazine.

Saudi Arabia has carried out nearly 600 executions since 2014, with over 200 as drug cases. Most of the rest were for murder, but also included other crimes such as rape, incest, terrorism, and "sorcery".

Most people are executed by public beheading or firing squad.

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