Saudi executes Jordanian in drugs case criticised by UN, activists
Saudi Arabia has executed a Jordanian man who activists say was tortured before he signed a document confessing to smuggling narcotics, in what his sister had called an "unfair trial".
Hussein Abo al-Kheir, a driver in his late 50s, was put to death on Sunday in the northwest province of Tabuk, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
The punishment shows "the keenness of the Kingdom's government to combat drugs of all kinds because of the severe harm they cause to the individual and society", it said late on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia is routinely criticised by human rights groups for its use of capital punishment, which has been on the rise lately with 11 executions in the past two weeks.
Rights group Amnesty International identified Abo al-Kheir as a father of eight and said his family had not been notified before the execution, which activists complain is a common practice by Saudi authorities.
He was arrested in 2014 while crossing into Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a driver for a family in Tabuk city, his sister, Zeinab, told AFP last year.
Both Zeinab and Britain-based rights group Reprieve say Hussein endured 12 days of torture before he signed a document confessing to smuggling narcotics.
They say he did not have access to a lawyer.
AFP could not independently verify those claims and Saudi authorities have not responded to a request for comment.
Saudi Arabia executed 147 people in 2022 -- more than double the 2021 figure of 69, according to AFP tallies.
Last year also saw the resumption of executions for drug crimes, ending a moratorium that lasted for almost three years.
State media reports have not provided details about how recent executions are being implemented, but the wealthy Gulf kingdom has often carried out death sentences by beheading.
More than 1,000 death sentences have been implemented since King Salman assumed power in 2015, according to a report published earlier this year by Reprieve and the European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights.