Saudi Arabia’s death toll from execution has hit a new high after putting two new convicts to death, estimates show.
Tallies updated on Tuesday showed that the execution of a Pakistani and a Saudi national earlier in the day brought to 150 the number of locals and foreigners put to death in 2015, the highest since 192 people were executed in 1995.
The Saudi Interior Ministry said Khan Iqbal, the Pakistani man convicted of smuggling drugs, was executed in the holy city of Mecca, while Saudi national Haydar al-Ridwan was put to death over a murder case in the Qatif region, Eastern Province. Ridwan reportedly gunned down two Saudis after an argument, the ministry said.
Amnesty International has repeatedly criticized Saudi Arabia for its high number of executions.
Saudi authorities usually execute convicts by beheading, triggering further international criticism. Many are also skeptical about the fairness of the trials held in the kingdom, saying the application of death penalty in some cases could be replaced by lighter punishments.
In a November statement, the European Union also slammed Riyadh’s repeated use of capital punishment, saying it is strongly opposed to methods such as beheading with the sword.
Saudi officials have dismissed the outcry over their human rights records, saying they expect other countries to respect decisions by the Saudi judicial system.