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Saudi government criticized for 100 executions this year

By
Ray Downs
President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, on May 20 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This week, the Saudi government carried out its 100th execution this year, drawing criticism from human rights groups. File White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI
President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, on May 20 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This week, the Saudi government carried out its 100th execution this year, drawing criticism from human rights groups. File White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Human rights group Amnesty International criticized the Saudi Arabian government Tuesday for executing 100 people so far this year, including 60 in the past three months.

A beheading Tuesday raised the total number to 101, the Saudi government news agency said.

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"Since July 2017, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree with an average of five people put to death per week," said Lynn Maalouf, director of research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East. "This sets the country firmly on track to remain one of the most prolific executioners on the planet."

She added: "If the Saudi authorities are truly intent on making reforms, they must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty completely."

Amnesty International said 40 percent of the executions were carried out for drug offenses, which is a violation of international human rights law.

The group also accused the Saudi government of unfair trials and "using the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent and rein in minorities with callous disregard for human life," Maalouf said.

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"They should immediately quash these sentences and ensure that all trials meet international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty."

In July, Saudi authorities drew condemnation after the government carried out six executions in a single day, including a Pakistani man who was killed for drug trafficking.

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