Saudi authorities executed a murderer in the holy city of Mecca today, the first death sentence to be carried out since before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Fahd al-Hasni, a Saudi, was put to death after being convicted of stabbing dead a fellow citizen, the interior ministry said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency.
Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.
It was the 96th execution of the year in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, which imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy.
The last execution in the Gulf country took place on May 29, more than a week before Ramadan began.
There were no beheadings during the fasting month and the following Eid al-Fitr feast.
Rights group Amnesty International says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences last year, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan. Its figures do not include secretive China.
The London-based watchdog has said that the rate of executions this year is “higher than at the same point last year”.
Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” offences on a single day in January.
They included prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions triggering the severing of relations between the Middle East’s leading Sunni and Shiite powers.