Seven people were executed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday following their convictions on charges of murder, robbery and drug smuggling. The condemned included a gang of six Yemeni home invaders and one Saudi drug-runner.
The Yemenis were convicted of killing three people across multiple home invasions in ‘Asir, a southern province of Saudi Arabia. They also stole cash and other valuables from the homes of their victims. All six men were executed in the city of Abha.
The Saudi convict had smuggled pills into the country and was executed in Tabuk.
One hundred thirty people have been executed in Saudi Arabia thus far in 2017, not quite breaking last year’s number of 154 executions. In the Kingdom, a litany of crimes can result in execution, including homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy, witchcraft and sexual misconduct. However, the vast majority of executions are conducted for serious convictions of terrorism, drug-smuggling, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and murder.
Most executions are done in public via beheading with a scimitar. In Islamic jurisprudence, those condemned may dodge execution if they are pardoned by the family of the victim.
Only China and Iran are believed to execute more people per year than Saudi Arabia, although exact numbers in China are unknown. Amnesty International reported at least 977 executions in Iran in 2015.
The death penalty is still in effect in 84 countries, but 29 of those have not executed anyone in the last decade and another 31 have not executed anyone in 2016 or 2017.
In 2017, Mongolia became the 103rd UN member to abolish the death penalty, having not executed anyone since 2008. In the US, too, the death penalty is expected to come under renewed scrutiny, with 20 people executed in 2016. The US Supreme Court is expected to hear a case on the constitutionality of the death penalty in December.