Longtime American ally Saudi Arabia is coming under intense pressure over human rights abuses related to its exceedingly cruel use of the death penalty.
Yesterday five foreigners were beheaded in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, upon which their corpses were hung from a helicopter. The move was intended to set an example for others but has been turned into a world-class example of human rights abuses.
The executions bring the Saudi total to 77 this year alone. The Middle Eastern country uses the particularly cruel method of stoning, which has widely been condemned by the international community.
Saudi Arabia has the highest volume of executions in the world according to human rights group Amnesty International.
The men executed yesterday had been accused of murdering an Indian man in order to steal his money. They were from Yemen, Eritrea, Chad, and Sudan.
Crimes punishable by death in Saudi Arabia include rape, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, and apostasy (the abandonment of one’s religion). The ruling regime routinely executes women and young boys, often parading bodies around afterwards to deter would-be criminals.
While the country is known as a relatively progressive Arab state, the killings show a dark side to the regime that demonstrates little commitment to justice or human rights.