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SAUDI ARABIA: EIGHT PEOPLE EXECUTED THE SAME DAY

March 13, 2013: eight men were executed in Saudi Arabia, bringing to 26 the number of people put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year.
A firing squad executed in public seven men convicted of armed robbery despite last-minute appeals by rights groups that their lives be spared, the interior ministry and a witness said.
The condemned men were convicted of "forming a gang that carried out several armed robberies and thefts with the help of other people," the ministry said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency.
They were executed "as a punishment to them and to deter others" from carrying out similar crimes, said SPA, adding that their fellow-robbers had been sentenced to various jail terms and lashes.
A witness told AFP by telephone that "the execution was "implemented a while ago at a public square in Abha," adding that the defendants were "shot dead" and not beheaded as is customary in the kingdom.
The announcement came soon after Amnesty International released a statement renewing calls on the Saudi authorities to halt the executions.
They "look set to be shot on Wednesday morning," said Amnesty, which described the executions as "sheer brutality."
The seven men -- Sarhan Al Mashaikh, Saeed Al Zahrani, Ali Al Shahri, Nasser Al Qahtani, Saeed Al Shahrani, Abdulaziz Al Amri and Ali Al Qahtani -- were charged with organising a criminal group, armed robbery and raiding and breaking into jewellery stores in 2005, and sentenced to death in 2009.
International rights groups had protested that the men -- now aged between 20 to 24 years old according to news website sabq.org -- were condemned for crimes committed when they were juveniles.
"It is a bloody day when a government executes seven people on the grounds of 'confessions' obtained under torture, submitted at a trial where they had no legal representation or recourse to appeal," said Amnesty's MENA director Philip Luther.
They claimed their relatives were also "threatened with torture if they withdrew their 'confessions'," said Amnesty.
They had been scheduled to die on March 5, but their executions were postponed for a week.
Executions in Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law, are generally carried out by beheading but media reports said authorities were considering using firing squads due to lack of swordsmen.
Local Al-Yawm daily reported that the kingdom has formed a specialised committee to study the "possibility of replacing beheadings by the sword with firing squads as this is not against sharia (Islamic law)."
This is due to "the lack of beheaders who may sometimes take long to arrive at the execution site from other regions causing confusion," it said.
Also on Wednesday (March 13), authorities executed another national, Fada al-Subaie in the southwestern Mecca region, after he was convicted of murdering a fellow Saudi, SPA reported. It did not specify the method of his execution. (Sources: AFP, 13/03/2013)

IRAN: AT LEAST 10 PRISONERS INCLUDING AFGHAN CITIZENS HANGED ON DRUG CHARGES
IRAN: FOUR PRISONERS HANGED ON DRUG CHARGES
PUNTLAND: MILITARY COURT ISSUES DEATH SENTENCES TO AL-SHABAAB SUSPECTS
INDIA IMPLEMENTS NEW ANTI-HIJACKING LAW THAT ENTAILS DEATH PENALTY
IRAN: EIGHT PRISONERS HANGED AT RAJAI SHAHR PRISON
PAKISTAN: RAPIST, KILLER OF MINOR HANGED IN GUJRANWALA
MONGOLIA: NEW CRIMINAL CODE ABOLISHES THE DEATH PENALTY FOR ALL CRIMES
IRAN: TWO PRISONERS HANGED IN PUBLIC
NIGERIA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ARMED ROBBERY
EGYPT: 20 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING POLICEMEN
USA: NUMBER OF FATAL SHOOTINGS BY POLICE IS NEARLY IDENTICAL TO LAST YEAR
IRAN: TWO MEN AND A WOMAN HANGED ON DRUG CHARGES
BELARUS: DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD IN APPEAL IN SUPREME COURT

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IRAN: TWO PRISONERS HANGED ON MURDER CHARGES IN BANDAR ABBAS & TABRIZ CENTRAL PRISONS
  IRREDUCIBLE LIFE SENTENCES IN THE UK AND ITALY?  
  VIETNAM, CHINA HIDING DEADLY SECRET ON EXECUTION FIGURES, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REVEAL  
  SAUDI ARABIA: THREE PEOPLE EXECUTED FOR HEROIN SMUGGLING  
  PAKISTAN: ANOTHER TERRORIST HANGED IN KOHAT JAIL  
  SAUDI ARABIA EXECUTES TWO DRUG DEALERS INCLUDING PAKISTANI NATIONAL  
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