Saudi Arabia said it executed 37 of its citizens on Tuesday after they were convicted of “terrorism” in the kingdom, which is one of the world’s top executioners.
The sentences were carried out in Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, central Qassim province and Eastern Province, home to the country’s Shiite minority.
The men were executed “for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilize security”, a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency said.
It said that one person was crucified after his execution, a punishment reserved for particularly serious crimes.
Executions in the ultra-conservative kingdom are usually carried out by beheading.
At least 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, according to a count based on official data released by SPA.
#Saudi human rights defenders have endured increased intimidation & harassment, including through arbitrary detention, torture, lengthy prison sentences. For what? Defending women's rightsCalling for human rights reformsThinking of how to achieve a better future for all Saudis pic.twitter.com/tBcfWpReEb
— AmnestyCanada (@AmnestyNow) April 18, 2019
Last year, the oil-rich Gulf state carried out the death sentences of 149 people, according to Amnesty International, which said only Iran was known to have executed more people.
Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia, governed under a strict form of Islamic law.
People convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking face the death penalty, which the government says is a deterrent for further crime.