Saudi Arabia said on Saturday has executed a total of 81 prisoners in one day for a range of terrorism-related offences.
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday has executed a total of 81 prisoners in one day for a range of terrorism-related offences, surpassing the total number of prisoners sentenced to death in the previous year.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that all had been “found guilty of perpetrating several terrible crimes,” with inmates belonging to the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Yemen’s Huthi rebel forces, or “other terrorist organisations” among them.
According to the SPA statement, those executed were planning attacks in the country, including killing “a substantial number” of civilians and security forces members.
“They also include convictions for targeting government personnel and vital economic sites, the killing of law enforcement officers and maiming their bodies, and planting land mines to target police vehicles,” the SPA said.
“The convictions include crimes of kidnapping, torture, rape, smuggling arms and bombs into the kingdom,” it further said.
73 Saudi citizens, seven Yemenis, and one Syrian national were among the 81 persons executed. It is the kingdom’s largest number of executions in a single day.
SPA stated all individuals executed were tried in Saudi courts, with trials overseen by 13 judges, held over three consecutive phases for each individual.
“The kingdom will maintain a strong and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that pose a danger to its stability,” according to the SPA report.
The opulent Gulf state has one of the highest execution rates in the world, and has frequently used beheading to carry out previous death penalties.
Highest Number of Executions Saudi Arabia in History
Since late 2014, Saudi Arabia has been the target of a series of horrific killings and bombings perpetrated by Islamic State group members.
Saudi Arabia also leads a military coalition fighting in Yemen since 2015 to help the government against Iran-backed Huthi rebels, who have retaliated by attacking the country.
The 81 executions announced on Saturday are higher than the 69 carried out in the entire year of 2021.
The death penalty is still used in about 50 nations throughout the world.
According to Amnesty International, four countries accounted for 88 percent of all 483 documented executions in 2020: Iran (246), Egypt (107), Iraq (45), and Saudi Arabia (27).
The executions were announced a day after the release of Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger and human rights campaigner who had been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in jail for insulting Islam.
Officials confirmed to AFP on Saturday that Badawi, who received just 50 lashes before the sentence was suspended due to international outcry, now faces a 10-year travel restriction.