In the largest group execution this year, Saudi Arabia carried out the execution of five individuals who were convicted for their involvement in a deadly attack on a house of worship, according to state media reports. The executed individuals consisted of four Saudi nationals and one Egyptian citizen.
The attack, which took place in the eastern region of the kingdom, resulted in the deaths of five people, while the exact number of injuries remains undisclosed.
The Saudi Arabian interior ministry released a statement, which was published by the official Saudi Press Agency, providing details about the execution.
However, the statement did not specify the date of the attack or the specific type of house of worship that was targeted.
Similarly, it did not mention the method of execution employed, although beheadings have been historically practiced in the kingdom.
This recent execution brings the total number of individuals put to death by Saudi Arabia to 68, fueling criticism from human rights organizations that frequently denounce the country’s extensive use of capital punishment.
Since early May, over 20 executions have been carried out for terrorism-related offenses, with the majority taking place in the eastern province.
In May, Saudi authorities executed two Bahrainis who were convicted of terrorism, a case that drew condemnation from Amnesty International due to allegations of “torture-tainted confessions.” Last year, Saudi Arabia executed a total of 147 people, more than double the figure of 69 in 2021, as reported by AFP.
Since King Salman assumed power in 2015, the kingdom has implemented over 1,000 death sentences, according to a joint report published earlier this year by Reprieve and the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights.
These recent executions come at a time when Saudi Arabia has been attempting to improve its global image through extensive social and economic reforms under its “Vision 2030” agenda, aimed at modernization.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler and son of King Salman, previously stated in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that Saudi Arabia had “eliminated” the death penalty, with exceptions for cases of murder or when the lives of numerous people are threatened.