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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)

More news:
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PAKISTAN: BLASPHEMY ACCUSED SENTENCED TO DEATH
TANZANIA: CONVICT’S DEATH SENTENCE REDUCED TO FIVE-YEAR TERM
RUSSIA: FEWER CITIZENS SUPPORT DEATH PENALTY
INDIA: SC BLOCKS DEATH OF TWO IN DEC 16 GANG-RAPE
SOMALIA: AL SHABAAB EXECUTE TWO YOUNG MEN IN BARAWE
IRAQ: SECURITY FORCES ACCUSED OF EXECUTING PRISONERS
CHINA COMMUTES BUSINESSWOMAN'S SENTENCE TO LIFE
EGYPT: HAMBOULY’S DEATH SENTENCE SENT TO GRAND MUFTI
SRI LANKA: HRC RECOMMENDS GOVERNMENT TO COMMUTE DEATH SENTENCES
FLORIDA (USA): EDDIE DAVIS EXECUTED
MALAYSIA: SHOPKEEPER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER OF FRENCH TOURIST IN TIOMAN ISLAND
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PHOTOS OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
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SUDAN: THREE REBELS HANDED DEATH SENTENCE
SOMALIA: MILITARY COURT SENTENCES AL-SHABAAB MEMBER TO DEATH
SUDAN: 12 SLM-AW REBELS SENTENCED TO DEATH IN CENTRAL DARFUR
UAE: MAJOR RELIEF FOR 17 INDIANS; COURT QUASHES DEATH SENTENCES
EGYPT: MUFTI CONFIRMS DEATH PENALTY FOR 10
BENIN: PAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY CONCLUDES
DECLARATION OF THE CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE ON THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN AFRICA (THE COTONOU DECLARATION)
UK STANDS ACCUSED OVER EXTRADITION OF ETHIOPIAN OPPOSITION LEADER
ILLINOIS (USA): EX-GOVERNOR RYAN WANTS TO CONTINUE ANTI-DEATH PENALTY WORK
INDIA: SUPREME COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE OF 26-YEAR-OLD YOUTH
SRI LANKA: 6 SENTENCED TO DEATH FROM TANGALLE AND KALUTHARA
USA: ‘DEATH ROW USA’ WINTER 2014 NOW AVAILABLE
DEATH PENALTY: SECOND DAY OF THE PAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE

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KENYA: 6,000 CONVICTS AWAITING DEATH
  KUWAIT: DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD FOR MURDERER  
  IRAN: 13 PRISONERS HANGED IN KARAJ  
  VIETNAM: AUSTRALIAN MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HEROIN POSSESSION  
  FLORIDA (USA): DNA PROVES DEATH ROW INMATE INNOCENT AFTER NEARLY 30 YEARS  
  JAPAN: KILLER HANGED IN FIRST EXECUTION THIS YEAR  
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