Saudi beheads drug smuggler in 66th execution of year

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday beheaded a convicted drug trafficker, the interior ministry announced, bringing to 66 the number of executions this year despite international concerns.

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday beheaded a convicted drug trafficker, the interior ministry announced, bringing to 66 the number of executions this year despite international concerns.

Mohammed bin Abd al-Ghani bin Hassan al-Khatir, a Saudi, "was caught smuggling a large quantity of drugs in the form of pills into the kingdom, inside his luggage," the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the ministry.

The death sentence was carried out in the northern region of Jawf.

Since October 15, six Pakistanis have also been executed for drug trafficking.

The interior ministry says the government is battling narcotics "because of their great harm to individuals and society".

A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are also punishable by death under the kingdom`s strict version of Islamic sharia law.

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