Saudi Arabia executes three convicted of slaying officer, founding ‘terrorist cell’

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia on Sunday put to death three of its citizens convicted of having killed a security officer and creating a “terrorist cell,” Riyadh’s Interior Ministry said.

Since the start of the year, Saudi authorities have executed 52 people, including 20 for terrorism-related offenses, according to an AFP tally.

In a statement on Sunday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said the three men had killed an officer in the capital Riyadh and burned his body by setting fire to his vehicle.

They were also convicted of financing terrorism and possessing weapons, ammunition, and “material used in the manufacture of explosives,” the ministry said.

Authorities carried out the death sentences on Sunday in Riyadh, the ministry added.

The statement did not specify the method used, but the kingdom has often carried out executions by beheading.

Most executions for “terrorism” this year have taken place in the Sunni Muslim kingdom’s eastern region where the Shiite minority is concentrated.

Last month, Saudi Arabia executed two Bahrainis, also for terrorist-related offenses.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners.

Last year, it put to death 147 people, 81 of them on a single day for terrorism-linked crimes. The mass execution sparked an international outcry.

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 the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights.

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