Saudi national beheaded for murder

A man convicted of murdering a fellow Saudi was beheaded on Sunday in Najran, southern Saudi Arabia, raising to at least 68 the number of executions in the kingdom this year, the interior ministry announced.

The ministry, in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, said Mohammed al-Jawad was found guilty of having shot dead Ali al-Yami. In September, Amnesty International called on the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom where 140 people were on death row to establish an 'immediate moratorium on executions'.

The rights group said Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states which voted against a UN General Assembly resolution last December calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

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

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia executed 27 convicts in 2010, compared to 67 executions announced the year before.

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