Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded five foreigners for murder and robbery, an unusually high number that adds to what Amnesty International has called a “macabre spike” in the kingdom’s executions.
Two Yemenis, a Chadian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese were put to death in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. It identified them as Yemenis Khaled Fetini and Ibrahim Nasser, Hassan Omar from Chad, Eritrean Salem Idriss and Abdel Wahhab Abdel Maeen from Sudan.
They were all convicted of killing an Indian guard at a business and stealing money from the safe. Their beheadings bring to 78 the number of locals and foreigners executed in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 87 for all of last year, according to AFP tallies. Normally one or two people are executed at a time.
London-based Amnesty ranked Saudi Arabia among the world’s top three executioners of 2014. Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the Gulf nation’s version of sharia law.
The interior ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for carrying out the punishment.