Saudi beheads two for murder, drug smuggling

Death by hanging

Death by hanging

Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani man convicted of drug smuggling and a Saudi for murder, the interior ministry said.

Their executions bring to six the number of people beheaded since the start of January in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

Awida Utaibi was executed after a court found him guilty of murdering a relative, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

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Mohammad Shahbal of Pakistan was beheaded for smuggling heroin into the country. The drugs were found in capsules he had swallowed.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, Saudi Arabia executed 87 people, compared with 78 in 2013, according to an AFP tally.