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Saudi Arabia executes five men




RIYADH: Saudi Arabia executed four men for possession of hashish on Monday and another man for murder on Tuesday, local media reported, taking to 18 the number of people it has put to death in two weeks, prompting alarm from rights groups. Saudi Arabia’s Sharia Islamic legal code gives extensive powers to individual judges to base verdicts and sentences on their own interpretation of Muslim law. Critics say that means very different sentences can be handed out for similar crimes. Judges can also prevent defendants from having access to lawyers and can close their courtrooms to outside scrutiny. Wael bin Saad bin Ali al-Shehri was executed in the southern Asir Province on Tuesday for shooting and killing a man in an argument, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an Interior Ministry statement. The four men executed for hashish possession were from Najran on the kingdom’s southern border with Yemen, official media reported, naming them as Hadi bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, Mufreh bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami, Ali bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami and Awadh bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq. International human rights watchdog Amnesty International said those four men were two sets of brothers from the same extended family and that their confessions may have been obtained through torture. 

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