Saudi Arabia has carried out 157 executions in 2015, most of which were beheading by sword. This is a record of the most capital punishments conducted in a single year since 1995.
The figure is second only to that of the year 1995 when the government in Riyadh executed 192 people. The Associated Press cited the latest reports by the Amnesty International as its source.
In more recent years, between 79 and 90 people lost their lives annually for “nonlethal offenses, such as drug-related ones.”
According to a November report released by Amnesty, about 40 percent of the total number of executions in 2015 – at least 63, including 45 foreign nationals — were for drug-related crimes. The figure was less than four percent in 2010.
“Foreign nationals, mostly migrant workers from developing countries, are particularly vulnerable as they typically lack knowledge of Arabic and are denied adequate translation during their trials,” said the rights group.
According to an August report, over 2,000 people were executed by Saudi Arabia between 1985 and 2013, half of whom were foreigners.
“Trials in capital cases are often held in secret and defendants rarely have access to lawyers. People may be convicted solely on the basis of ‘confessions’ obtained under torture, other ill-treatment or deception,” added the London-based rights group.
Saudi authorities do not spare people with mental disabilities from the death penalty. Moreover, most executions are performed in public places and in some cases decapitated bodies are left hanging in public squares as a “deterrent,” the report further said.
Riyadh has been under fire for having one of the world’s highest execution rates. Under the Saudi law, apostasy, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape, and murder all carry the death penalty.