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HRW: Saudi Arabia executed 48 in 2018, half of them with drug offenses

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) –┬áSaudi authorities have executed 48 people so far in 2018, half of them in drug-related crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

The organization said on Wednesday that others were still convicted of drug offenses on the death row.

Saudi Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with Time magazine last month that Saudi laws could be changed in some areas to provide for life imprisonment instead of execution.

“We have been working for two years through the government and also the Saudi Shoura Council to draft new laws in this area,” he told the magazine. We believe it will take a year, perhaps a little more, to accomplish this. ”

“Any plan to reduce drug-related executions must include improvements in the justice system, which does not provide fair trials,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

The organization said that Saudi Arabia has carried out about 600 executions since the beginning of 2014, more than 200 of them in cases of drugs.