Four brothers beheaded in Saudi Arabia for smuggling marijuana
Two sets of brothers were beheaded using swords in the city of Jajran in southwestern Saudi Arabia on Monday August 18th after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into the country according to the Saudi Interior Ministry.
The government news agency SPA identified the two sets of brothers as Hadi and Awad al-Motleg and Mufarraj and Ali al-Yami. The four were found guilty of having smuggled "a large quantity of hashish" into Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International claimed that there had been a "disturbing surge" in executions in Saudi Arabia of late with a total of 32 already this year and said:"The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions". Amnesty also claimed that the conviction of the four was "reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture".
During the last two weeks there have been 17 beheadings a rate of more than one a day.The families of the executed men had been asking for help from Amnesty as the executions became imminent but were told by the Interior Ministry to stop trying to contact Amnesty. Amnesty representative Said Bouhmedouha called the recent increase in beheadings a deeply disturbing deterioration and said: "The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice". Four days previous to this execution a Pakastani was beheaded also for drug trafficking.
In Saudi Arabia a number of different crimes can be punished by death including rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, and drug trafficking. There were 78 executions in the country last year. In August alone this year 19 people have been beheaded. Among those beheaded, Mohammed Al-Alawi was convicted for practicing sorcery.