Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded five Yemenis and used cranes to hang their bodies in public for killing a national and forming a gang that committed robberies across several towns in the kingdom, the interior ministry said. The five were executed in the town of Jizan. The ministry later also announced, in statements carried by the official SPA news agency, that a Saudi was beheaded in the southwestern region of Assir for the murder of a fellow citizen.
In a picture on Twitter, five men are seen hanging from a rope tied
to their waists on a horizontal bar between two cranes, in a public
display which Saudi authorities refer to as "crucifixion." Their heads were placed in sacks and tied to their bodies.
The beheadings bring the number of people executed in the kingdom this year to 47, according to an AFP tally.
New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed the punishment as "outrageous." In remarks emailed to AFP, HRW's Middle East researcher Adam Coogle
said "Saudi authorities have once again made headlines for beheading
five men and displaying their decapitated bodies in public. Regardless of the accusations against them, this outrageous
punishment serves as a gruesome reminder of the deficiencies of Saudi
Arabia's criminal justice system," he said. "If Saudi Arabia is serious about reform, as it has claimed, it
should create a penal code, uphold fair trial rights, and cease using
In March, a Saudi firing squad executed in public seven men convicted
of armed robbery despite last-minute appeals by rights groups at the
time that their lives be spared.