Saudi beheads Pakistani drug trafficker

AFP , Thursday 28 May 2015

Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a convicted Pakistani drug trafficker, adding to what a United Nations rapporteur called a "very disturbing" surge in the kingdom's use of the death penalty.

Ihsan al-Amin was executed in Riyadh after his conviction for heroin smuggling, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

He became the 90th person put to death this year, compared with 87 for the whole of 2014, according to AFP tallies.

About half of those executed are foreigners.

The rise in Saudi executions is "out of line" with global trends where the numbers of executions and states which apply the death penalty are decreasing, Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told AFP on Wednesday.

Under the conservative kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery and apostasy are all punishable by death.

The interior ministry has cited deterrence as the reason for carrying out the punishment.

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