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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saudi Arabia Continues To Behead Prisoners

Saudi Arabia on Saturday beheaded by the sword a man convicted of murder, as the kingdom kept up a steady execution rate that has already more than doubled last year's toll.

Saudi Masfar al-Ghuthami was executed in the southwestern Asir region for shooting dead fellow tribesman Ali al-Ghuthami after an argument, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The latest beheading raised to 80 the number of executions carried out so far this year in the ultra-conservative Gulf state.

In 2006, at least 37 people were executed in the oil-rich Arab country, while 83 were put to death in 2005 and 35 the year before, according to AFP tallies based on official statements.

Executions are usually carried out in public in Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking can all carry the death penalty.

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