Saudi beheads Pakistani for heroin smuggling

Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani who attempted to smuggle heroin into the kingdom, the interior ministry said, adding to the more than 50 people executed this year.

"Sanaullah Mohammed Amir was executed in Qatif governorate in Eastern Province today because he tried to smuggle a large quantity of heroin" into the country, said the ministry, quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The sentence against Amir was endorsed by appeal and supreme courts before a royal order was issued to carry it out, the interior ministry said.

His decapitation takes to 55 the number of people beheaded in the ultra-conservative Gulf nation so far this year, compared with 78 people in all of 2013, according to an AFP count.

A United Nations independent expert last week called on Saudi Arabia to implement an immediate moratorium.

"Despite several calls by human rights bodies, Saudi Arabia continues to execute individuals with appalling regularity and in flagrant disregard of international law standards," said Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

"The trials are by all accounts grossly unfair. Defendants are often not allowed a lawyer and death sentences were imposed following confessions obtained under torture."

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

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