RIYADH - Saudi Arabia beheaded two convicted rapists and a murderer on Wednesday, the interior ministry said, bringing to 21 the number of people it has executed so far this year.
The three were all Saudis.
Abdul Kareem bin Abdul Sattar Meezi and Hashim bin Abdo Mahragi had been convicted of kidnapping and raping a girl and were executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the ministry said.
"The interior ministry confirms that it is determined to maintain security, serve justice and implement the provisions of God on all those who attack the innocent, shed blood or cause disgrace," it said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
Saudi Arabia has faced constant international criticism over its human rights record, including its use of the death penalty.
Separately another Saudi, Mohammed bin Ouda bin Naji al-Inzi, was beheaded in the northwestern Jawf region after being convicted of a fatal shooting, the ministry said.
The kingdom executed 87 people last year, up from 78 in 2013, according to an AFP tally.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under its strict version of Islamic sharia law.