Saudi Arabia beheads ninth Pakistani since mid-October

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani for heroin smuggling, bringing to nine the number of Pakistanisexecuted in the country since mid-October.

Mohammed Rahman Mohammed Asghar had been “tried and found guilty of smuggling a large quantity of heroin into the kingdom,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The sentence was carried out in the Eastern Province city of Khobar.

Asghar was the latest of 74 people, foreigners and Saudis, to be executed in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

The oil-rich Gulf state saw the third highest number of executions in the world last year after Iran and Iraq, according to Amnesty International whose figures did not include China.

In September, an independent expert working on behalf of the United Nations expressed concern about the judicial process and called for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials “are by all accounts grossly unfair” and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer. He said confessions were obtained under torture.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s version of Islamic Sharia law.

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