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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Two beheaded in Saudi Arabia
execution
Large crowds often gather to watch Saudi executions
A Saudi man and a woman have been beheaded for the murder of a man who had offered them a ride.

l-Tarqi bin Atallah al-Salbi and Noura Hamad lured Falah al-Dawish to a deserted area, stabbed him, and strangled him with a wire, said Saudi officials.

They then burned his body and stole his money and car, a statement said.

Both were beheaded in the Qariet al-Alyya province, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) east of the capital, Riyadh.

Amnesty anger

Their execution raised to at least 42 the number of people beheaded this year in the Gulf kingdom. At least 81 were beheaded last year.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam. It imposes the death penalty for murder, rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Beheadings are carried out in public with a sword.

Other punishments include amputation for theft and flogging for selling alcohol.

Although these practices are criticised by many in the West, Saudi authorities say the punishments keep their crime rate down.

However, Amnesty International says the system is arbitrary and unfair.

The organisation says wealthy people and Westerners are rarely punished while those from poor backgrounds have little protection.

See also:

28 Mar 00 | Middle East
28 Mar 00 | Middle East
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