RIYADH - Saudi Arabia carried out its first execution in five weeks on Thursday after a pause for Ramadan, beheading one of its citizens convicted of a double murder.
Sayir al-Rasheedi was found guilty of fatally shooting two Saudi brothers in a dispute, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the interior ministry.
Authorities carried out the sentence against him in the Qassim region.
SPA had reported no executions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday which followed.
The latest beheading brings to 103 the number of executions in the kingdom so far this year, a sharp increase on the 87 recorded during the whole of 2014, according to AFP tallies.
This year's figure is still below the record 192 which human rights group Amnesty International said were carried out in 1995.
Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi authorities of waging a "campaign of death" by executing more people in the first six months of this year than in all of last year.
Echoing the concerns of other activists, the New York-based group said it has documented "due process violations" in Saudi Arabia's judiciary that make it difficult for defendants to get fair trials even in capital cases.
Under the conservative kingdom's strict Islamic sharia legal code, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery and apostasy are all punishable by death.
The interior ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for carrying out the punishment.
it/ak/kir Saudi-executionAFP 231135 GMT JUL 15