Saudi Arabia executes 37 citizens for 'terrorism'

Saudi Arabia executes 37 citizens for 'terrorism'
Thirty-seven Saudi citizens 'for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilise security' - one of whom was crucified after his death.
2 min read
23 April, 2019
Saudi Arabia is known for its appalling human rights record [Getty]
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it had executed 37 citizens who had been convicted of "terrorism", with one of the bodies of the condemned crucified after death.

The sentences were carried out in Riyadh, the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina, Qassim province, as well as Eastern Province which is home to much of the kingdom's Shia minority.

The men were executed "for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilise security", a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

It said that one person was crucified after his execution, a punishment reserved for particularly serious crimes. 

Saudi activist Fuad Ibrahim tweeted that 32 out of 37 of those executed were Shia, the Muslim minority group that have been commonly vulgarised in the kingdom.

Executions in the ultra-conservative kingdom are usually carried out by beheading. 

At least 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, according to a count based on official data released by SPA.

Last year, the oil-rich Gulf state carried out the death sentences of 149 people, according to Amnesty International, which said only Iran was known to have executed more people.

Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia, governed under a strict form of Islamic law.

People convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking face the death penalty, which the government says is a deterrent for further crime.

Saudi Arabia has witnessed a number of attacks on security forces in recent months, including an attack on a checkpoint by suspected Shia fighters and another foiled raid on a police station by militants allegedly linked to IS.