Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia beheaded a Pakistani convicted of drug smuggling on Friday, the 73rd execution in the kingdom so far this year.
Shirin Khan Abbas Khan was put to death in Riyadh province after being found guilty of smuggling heroin into the kingdom in swallowed balloons, the interior ministry said.
In the whole of 2014, Saudi Arabia carried out 87 executions, and Amnesty International has spoken of a “macabre spike” in the kingdom’s use of the death penalty this year.
The Gulf has become an increasingly important market for illicit drugs in recent years, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says.
The Pakistani city of Karachi is a key transit point for heroin from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia has carried out a spate of executions of Pakistani drugs mules.
Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic sharia law.