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Syrian Beheaded in Saudi Arabia

July 2, 2000

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ A Syrian man convicted of smuggling cocaine into Saudi Arabia was executed Sunday, the Interior Ministry said.

A statement said Hussam Kamal Shaheen was beheaded in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah. It gave no other details.

The execution brings to at least 63 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia this year. At least 99 were executed last year.

Punishment in Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law that mandates death sentences for murder, rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Executions are carried out with a sword in a public square.

Human rights groups have condemned the high execution rate, saying Islam prescribes using the punishment sparingly.

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