Saudi Arabia has beheaded 37 of its citizens in a series of mass executions across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes.
One of the prisoners was crucified, according to an interior ministry statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
“The death penalty was implemented on a number of criminals for adopting extremist terrorist ideologies and forming terrorist cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spreading chaos and provoking sectarian strife,” SPA said in a tweet in Arabic, translated by CNN.
It marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since January 2, 2016. On that day, the kingdom executed 47 individuals, including a prominent Shi’Ite cleric whose death sparked protests in Iran and the ransacking of Tehran’s Saudi embassy.
The latest executions also come days after four Islamic State gunmen died trying to attack a Saudi security building north of the capital, Riyadh, and days after Easter attacks that killed more than 300 people in Sri Lanka and claimed by the Islamic State group.
Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said Tuesday’s executions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law, using language that indicated they were all beheadings.
However, the body of one of the men – Khaled bin Abdel Karim al-Tuwaijri – was publicly pinned to a pole for several hours. That is a process not frequently used by the kingdom that has sparked controversy for its grisly display.
The statement did not say in which city of Saudi Arabia the public display took place.
The government defends such executions as a powerful tool for deterrence.
The Interior Ministry statement said those executed had adopted extremist ideologies and formed terrorist cells with the aim of spreading chaos and provoking sectarian strife.
It said the individuals had been found guilty according to the law and ordered executed by the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh. It is the country’s highest court and specialises in terrorism trials.
The people were found guilty of attacking security installations with explosives, killing security officers and co-operating with enemy organisations against the interests of the country, the interior ministry said.
The statement named all those executed, which included several from large families and tribes in Saudi Arabia.
The mass execution was ratified by royal decree.