Saudi beheads two for raping minors

Saudi beheads two for raping minors

RIYADH - Saudi authorities beheaded Wednesday two nationals convicted of raping minors in two separate cases, in one of which the culprit killed the victim, the interior ministry said.

Hamad bin Meshehen al-Rashidi was found guilty of kidnapping and raping a seven-year-old boy before throwing him into a well and killing him, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

Rashidi was executed in Qassim province, north of Riyadh.

In the other case, Issa bin Mohammed al-Rashidi was condemned of kidnapping and raping a minor, and attempting to kidnap another. He was executed in the northern Hail province.

The beheadings bring to 15 the number of death sentences carried out this year in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Saudi Arabia beheaded 78 people in 2013, according to an AFP count.

Last year, the UN High Commission for Human Rights denounced a "sharp increase in the use of capital punishment" there since 2011.

According to figures from rights group Amnesty International, the number of executions rose from 27 in 2010, including five, to 82 in 2011, including 28 foreigners.

In 2012, the number of executions dipped to 79, among them 27 foreigners.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

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