Saudi Arabia beheaded a convicted murderer, bringing to 5 the number of people executed since new King Salman (pic) took office, continuing the kingdom’s use of the harshest punishment. – Reuters pic

Saudi Arabia today beheaded a convicted murderer, bringing to five the number of people executed since new King Salman took office, continuing the kingdom’s use of the harshest punishment.

Abdelrahman al-Jahni, a Saudi, was convicted of shooting another man dead during a dispute, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The sentence was carried out in the holy city of Medina.

According to an AFP tally, Jahni is the latest of 17 locals and foreigners to be executed this year.

Five have been beheaded since King Salman took office on January 23 after the death of his predecessor Abdullah.

The interior ministry says the death penalty in such cases reflects the government’s commitment to “maintaining security, realising justice”.

But the kingdom has faced constant international criticism over its human rights record, including the use of the death penalty.

Under Abdullah, the number of executions jumped from 27 in 2010 to around 80 annually, with 87 recorded last year. – AFP

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, successor to his brother King Abdullah, attends a prayer service at a mosque in Riyadh in this still image taken from video January 23, 2015. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one of the richest men in the history of the world, was carried in a simple white shroud to an unmarked grave on Friday in a Riyadh cemetery where many of his commoner subjects rest, in keeping with ascetic traditions. While the afternoon prayer that preceded Abdullah’s burial took place before ranks of Muslim leaders, Saudi princes, powerful clerics and billionaire Arab businessmen, his body was transported to the mosque in a city ambulance. REUTERS/Saudi TV via Reuters TV (SAUDI ARABIA)

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