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Saudi Arabia executes 81 men in one day, the biggest mass execution in decades

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in its largest mass execution in decades. Among those executed includes seven Yemenis and one Syrian. The individuals were executed for crimes related to terrorism and deviant beliefs, according to authorities. In all of 2021, only 67 executions were reported in the kingdom. In 2020, the country performed 27 executions under similar crimes, including pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, the Houthis, and ISIS. Some of the individuals traveled to conflict zones to join these organizations.

It is unclear how the executions were carried out. The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case of attempting to assassinate security officers. In addition, the individuals targeted police stations and convoys. The last similar case occurred in 1980, when Saudi Arabia executed 63 people in one day following the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. In 2016, 47 people were executed in one day, including prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Human rights groups have accused Saudi Arabia of enforcing restrictive laws on political and religious expression via the death penalty. In the past, the country has used the death penalty against individuals arrested when they were minors.

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