Saudi executes 2 for murder

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 04 2014 10:56 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2014 06:56 AM

RIYADH - Saudi authorities beheaded two citizens on Tuesday after convicting them of two separate murders, the interior ministry said, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom this year to seven.

Abdulellah al-Otaibi was executed in the western city of Taif after he was convicted of stabbing a member of his own tribe to death, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Meanwhile, Nasser al-Qahtani was executed in the southwestern Asir region after he was convicted of shooting dead Ayed al-Qahtani, the ministry said in a second statement.

Saudi Arabia beheaded 78 people in 2013, according to an AFP count.

Last year, the UN High Commission for Human Rights denounced a "sharp increase in the use of capital punishment" since 2011 in the kingdom.

According to figures from Amnesty International, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia jumped from 27 in 2010, of whom five were foreigners, to 82 in 2011, including 28 foreigners.

In 2012, the number of executions slipped slightly to 79 people, among them 27 foreign nationals.

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