Saudi beheads Syrian for drug smuggling

AFP , Monday 17 Jun 2013

Syrian put to death for smuggling banned pills into the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities beheaded a Syrian on Monday after he was convicted of smuggling drugs into the kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Ali Derbalah was arrested as he was "smuggling a large amount of banned pills into the kingdom," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency. It did not specify the type of pills he was accused of smuggling.

His beheading in the northern province of Jawf brings to 52 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year.

In 2012, the Gulf country put 76 people to death, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. Human Rights Watch has put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.

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