Saudi Arabia has executed a man during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which a rights group said on Monday had not occurred in years.
The execution took place on March 28 — five days into the fasting month — in the Medina region which includes Islam’s second holiest city, the official Saudi Press Agency has reported.
It said the man put to death, a Saudi national, had been convicted of murder. He stabbed the victim and set him on fire, the report said.
“Saudi Arabia executed a citizen during Ramadan,” said the Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) in a statement.
Citing Saudi interior ministry capital punishment data, the group said “no sentence has been implemented during the holy month” since 2009 in the kingdom, one of the world’s most prolific executioners.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam.
ESOHR said the Ramadan case brought to 17 the number of death sentences carried out this year.
Saudi Arabia executed 147 people in 2022 — more than double the 2021 figure of 69, according to AFP tallies.
Last year also saw the resumption of executions for drug crimes, ending a moratorium that lasted for almost three years.
More than 1,000 death sentences have been carried out since King Salman assumed power in 2015, according to a report published earlier this year by British-based Reprieve and ESOHR.
The kingdom has often carried out death sentences by beheading.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, said in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that the kingdom “got rid of” the death penalty except for cases of murder or when someone “threatens the lives of many people”, according to a transcript published by state media in March 2022.
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