IP- Saudi Arabia has executed 17 people accused of drug and contraband offences in the last 12 days, a top UN official said on Tuesday – confirming a record high for total capital punishments in a year by the kingdom.

Iran PressMiddle East: The latest executions, carried out since 10 November, are “deeply regrettable,” UN human rights office spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell said at a press briefing in Geneva.

The spate of executions in the kingdom comes after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic that halted capital punishments in other countries as well.

Saudi Arabia carries out most of its executions by beheading.

At 144, the total beheadings in 2022 have breached the cumulative tally of such punishments carried out in 2020 and 2021 combined, reportedly less than 140.

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Of these, 81 people were killed in a mass execution by the authorities in March this year on the charges of killings and for belonging to militant groups – marking the largest such exercise in the kingdom’s modern history.

Even though Mohammed bin Salman’s regime has attempted to liberalize some aspects of life in the country by opening movie theatres, extending the long overdue driving rights to women, and defanging the country’s once-feared religious police, there will be alarm over the number of executions.

The US intelligence agencies have accused the crown prince of ordering the killing and dismembering of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a fierce critic of the kingdom’s rule. However, the Biden administration has said the crown prince should be granted immunity.


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