Saudi Arabiagovernemnt has executed 37 citizens found guilty of various terrorism-related charges including many Shiite Muslims arrested in connection with violence and unrest in the kingdom’s Eastern Province. It marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since Jan. 2, 2016.
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday’s executions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law, using language that indicated they were all beheadings. Saudi Arabia’s supreme council of Muslim scholars also issued a statement saying the executions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law.
The executed were accused of adopting extremist ideology, forming terrorist cells, provoking sectarian strife and as well as attacking security targets, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency. They were also accused of cooperating with “hostile parties” against the interests of the country.
The sentences were carried out in Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, central Qassim province, and Eastern Province, home to the country’s Shia minority.
Among the 37 was Abdulkareem Al-Hawaj, a young Shiite man who was under 18 when his alleged crimes were committed, according to a statement from United Nations human rights experts last year. Many Shiites, especially those in the oil-rich Eastern Province, accuse the country’s Sunni rulers of discrimination.
The king, who has empowered his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has asserted a bolder and more decisive leadership style than previous monarchs since ascending to the throne four years ago.