Saudi Arabia executed seven men from the southern Asir province for “various crimes” after their appeal was overruled, the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing an Interior Ministry statement.
The men “had formed a gang and committed a series of crimes of armed robbery, banditry and theft,” the ministry said, according to the Riyadh-based news service. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, it said.
Saudi Arabia, where religious police patrol shopping centers and cinemas are prohibited, enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The kingdom usually beheads or sentences people to flogging for murder, rape and drug-smuggling.
The Sunni Muslim-majority country and member of the Group of 20 nations has been criticized by international human rights groups over the death sentences.
“Executing these men would be an act of sheer brutality,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said a statement yesterday. London-based Amnesty said two of the men are believed to have been juveniles at the time of the alleged crime.