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Saudi carries out first execution of the year

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most prolific executioners, on Tuesday carried out its first death sentence of the year, after more than 150 in 2016.

Authorities put Mamdouh al Anzi to death following his conviction for shooting dead another Saudi in a dispute, the interior ministry said.

He was executed in Arar, a city near Iraq.

Beheading with a sword is the most common form of execution in the kingdom.

According to an AFP tally based on official announcements, Saudi Arabia executed 153 locals and foreigners last year under its Islamic legal code, down slightly from the previous year.

Rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia carried out at least 158 death sentences in 2015, coming third after Iran and Pakistan.

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Amnesty’s figures do not include secretive China.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, but the government says the death penalty is a deterrent.

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