The defendants were sentenced to death after being imprisoned on different charges and included three Pakistanis, four Syrians, two Jordanians and three Saudis, Telegraph reported. With this the total number of people executed this year to at least 132, exceeding those of 2020 and 2021 combined, AFP reported.
In 2018, the kingdom’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had claimed that his administration had tried to “minimize” capital punishment with only those found guilty of murder or manslaughter being subject to capital punishment.
In 2020, there were further hints of a softening on non-violent crime after Saudi Arabia proposed to change the law to end the death penalty after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018.
Maya Foa, director of rights organization Reprieve, said: “Mohammed bin Salman has repeatedly touted his vision of progress, committing to reducing executions and ending the death penalty for drug offences. But as a bloody year of executions draws to a close, the Saudi authorities have begun executing drug offenders again, in large numbers and in secret.”