RIYADH, Friday (AFP) - Two Sri Lankans were beheaded by the sword today after being convicted of armed robbery and murdering a Sudanese accountant, the interior ministry said.
The two men were found guilty of shooting dead and robbing Mohammed al-Jakk Mohammed, who worked as a company accountant, as he walked out of a bank in Riyadh, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.
The two beheadings were the first to be announced in 2009, while the tally of decapitations announced by Saudi authorities in 2008 stood at 102.
In 2007, a record 153 people were executed in the country, which applies a strict version of sharia, or Islamic law. That figure compared with 37 in 2006 and the previous record of 113 in 2000.
Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking can all carry the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, where executions are usually carried out in public.
In October, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said the number of executions in Saudi Arabia was surging and that the principal victims were poor migrant labourers and Saudis without connections.