Saudi Arabia’s state-owned media network,Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday that the kingdom had carried out a mass execution of 81 people,The Hill report.
According to The Hill,those executed — a group comprising 73 Saudis, seven Yemenis, and one Syrian — had been convicted of terrorism, murder, kidnapping, torture, rape, and weapons smuggling.Some were reportedly associated with al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. It was the largest known mass execution in the country’s modern history.
Saudi state media did not specify how the prisoners were executed, “death-row inmates” in Saudi Arabia “typically are beheaded” publicly. Reuters reports that since 2013, some Saudi executions have been carried out by firing squad.
Between 2015 and 2019, the kingdom averaged over 150 executions per year. In the same time period, the United States — which has almost ten times the population of Saudi Arabia — averaged less than 25 per year.
The kingdom carried out 27 executions in 2020, with the large drop-off due mostly to a moratorium on death sentences for drug crimes, and 67 in 2021,according to ABC News and the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights. Saturday’s mass execution killed more people in one day than were executed in either of the previous two years.