Saudi Arabia put to death its highest number of convicts in recent years last year, a new report says. The kingdom also came under intense scrutiny over its human rights record in 2019.
A total of 184 people were executed in 2019, including 90 foreigners, according to a report by the legal charity Reprieve. Of the executed, 82 were executed for smuggling narcotics and 57 for murder, according to Reprieve’s research.
Executions have gone up since 2015, when the charity began keeping records of executions officially announced by the Saudi government. To compare, 88 people were executed in 2014, with the number nearly doubling to 157 executions a year later. That number remained steady until last year, when 184 people were executed, 35 more people than in 2018.
Four individuals have been executed in 2020 so far, Reprieve said.
Saudi Arabia,and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been under increasing criticism for their human rights record in recent years. An international media spotlight has also been focused on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashogghi and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, for which Iran shares responsibility.
On April 23 last year, 37 people were executed in a single day, including a prospective college student on his way to the U.S., prompting outrage from members of the U.S. Congress