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Saudi executes man convicted of murder in Mecca

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows a public beheading event in Saudi Arabia.

The number of executions in Saudi Arabia during the current year approaches 100 after the regime executed a man convicted of murder in the holy city of Mecca on Sunday.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement that Fahd al-Hasni was found guilty of stabbing to death a fellow Saudi citizen, announcing the first death sentence since the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The statement, released by the official SPA news agency, did not elaborate on the method used for the execution, but most of the people sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with the sword.

The execution raised the number of people put to death in Saudi Arabia in 2016 to 96, according to an AFP count.

In the most stunning case of executions this year, Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on January 2 along with 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the country.

The kingdom executed a total of 153 people in 2015, a global high.

Saudi Shia protesters hold placards bearing portraits of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a rally in Qatif against his execution, January 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Concern is growing about the increasing number of executions in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi authorities say the executions reveal the Saudi government’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.”

The kingdom says many of the executions are related to murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy. However, courts have also handed down death sentences to a number of activists over the past year only for criticizing the government in the social media channels.

Saudi Arabia has come under particular criticism from human rights groups for the executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. Human Rights Watch has also called on the Saudi regime to abolish its “ghastly” beheadings.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia.

Muslim clerics have also denounced Riyadh for executing suspects without giving them a chance to defend themselves, describing the Saudi authorities as uncivilized.

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