Saudi Arabia executes a Pakistani couple over drug charges

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has reported that two Pakistani nationals, a couple, were executed on Thursday subsequent to being discovered blameworthy by its courts of smuggling heroin into the Kingdom.

The nation’s interior ministry, in an official statement, expressed that Muhammad Mustafa and Fatima Ijaz were “arrested when they smuggled a quantity of heroin”.

The case was referred to the court where an investigation led to the indictment of the accused, said the Saudi ministry, adding that the punishment was also supported by the court of appeals as well as the supreme court.

Consequently, the state stated, a royal request to actualize the capital punishments were issued, and the couple was executed in Jeddah.

Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) condemned the development, especially the “unprecedented execution of first Pakistani woman in five years”.

The human rights organisation said it was “outraged” at the executions, which it noted came “despite the fact that the two nations are currently negotiating a prisoner transfer agreement”.

The JPP press release said that the capital punishments carried out on Thursday also included a third Pakistan named Abdul Maalik, who was not mentioned in the Saudi ministry’s announcement.

“These executions are particularly worrying in the face of the announcement by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in February this year to release 2,107 Pakistanis imprisoned in the Kingdom,” JPP noted, adding that “the promise has yet to be fulfilled as only 250 Pakistani prisoners have returned so far.”

“There has been a sharp rise in executions of Pakistani nationals following the announcement,” it added.

“Saudi Arabia has executed more than 100 Pakistanis in the past five years,” it said. “Despite being a close regional ally, the Kingdom executes more Pakistanis than any other foreign nationality, with 20 executions in 2014, 22 in 2015, seven in 2016, 17 in 2017, 30 in 2018 and 14 this year so far. More Pakistanis are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia than any other country in the world, with the total exceeding 3,300 Pakistanis.”

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