May 30, 2009 / 10:07 AM / 10 years ago

Amnesty condemns display of beheaded Saudi

RIYADH (Reuters) - Amnesty International condemned on Saturday the execution of a Saudi man for double murder and the public display of his body in the Gulf Arab state.

The kingdom, a staunch U.S. ally, beheaded Ahmad Adhib bin Askar al-Shamalani al-Anzi on Friday. His body was hung in a public square in the capital Riyadh in what state media said was a deterrent.

The Saudi-owned daily al-Hayat, which like websites showed pictures of the execution, said authorities had left the body hanging until late at night.

Rights activists said authorities only rarely use this form of deterrent to try to stop spreading crimes.

“It is horrific that beheading and crucifixions still happen,” Amnesty International said in a statement on Saturday, adding that some 102 people had been executed last year in the world’s largest oil exporter.

Saudi Arabia, which is also a member of the G20 economic bloc, usually carries out executions by public beheading for murder, rape, drug smuggling and, increasingly, armed robbery.

Saudi Arabia says it is implementing Islamic sharia law to the letter and that sharia ensures full rights for Muslims and non-Muslims, who must abide by the laws of the desert country.

The executions come days before a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama for talks with King Abdullah.

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