Saudis behead Palestinian thief

Nov. 20, 2012 at 5:59 AM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A Palestinian convicted of carrying out a series of robberies was beheaded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saudi officials said.

Mohammed al-Khalil was charged with forming a gang to carry out "thefts, burglaries, and robbery against homes," the Saudi news agency SPA reported Monday.

It is the second such incident in less than a week, the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported.

Last week, Ahmed al-Huwaiti, a Saudi citizen, was beheaded in the same city after he was charged with the murder of another Saudi citizen, the newspaper said. Huwaiti was beheaded with a sword, the newspaper said.

In accordance with Sharia Islamic law, people charged with rape, murder, armed robbery, sorcery or drug trafficking are executed in the oil-rich Persian Gulf country.

While there are no current statistics for the number of people beheaded in the kingdom this year, Amnesty International said 79 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in 2011, triple the number of those executed in 2010 when 27 were put to death.

Commenting on the sharp increase at the time, Philip Luther of Amnesty International called the trend "extremely disturbing."

"We regularly call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to impose a moratorium with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Where the death penalty is used, under international law it should only be applied to the most serious crimes," he said.

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