A Nigerian man has been executed in Saudi Arabia for the murder of a police officer, marking the 95th execution carried out by the kingdom this year.
Fahd Houssawi was executed in the city of Taif on Sunday, Saudi press agency SPA reported. He had been convicted of the murder of a security man named Abdul-Ghani Al-Thubaity. Houssawi had knocked the man to the floor and repeatedly hit his head on the ground, beating him to death, before wounding another security man as he attempted to escape, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Human rights organisations have voiced increasing concern over the rate of executions carried out by Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year UK organisation Reprieve urged the British Government to pressure its allies in the Gulf to stop the executions, which looks set to reach a new record high if the current rate continues.
A total of 158 people were killed by death penalty in Saudi Arabia last year – a surge of 76 per cent on 2014. Most were beheaded or killed by firing squad, Amnesty International reported, with the bodies sometimes displayed in public after the executions.
The number of executions carried out this year is already higher than the number recorded at the same point last year, the human rights organisation said, adding that the number of people put to death could reach more than 100 in the first half of the year.
Reprieve claimed the total number of deaths could reach a new record high of 320 people by the end of 2016 if the current rate of executions continues.
A number of non-lethal crimes also carry the death penalty in the country, from armed robbery to adultery, kidnapping and r*pe, and apostasy.