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Saudis Behead Nigerian, Afghan

July 16, 1999

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ A Nigerian and an Afghan were beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Friday for smuggling drugs, according to the Interior Ministry.

Aisha Saadeh Kassem of Nigeria was executed in the port city of Jiddah after she was convicted of smuggling heroin and cocaine into the kingdom. Habib Gul Mohammed, an Afghan, was beheaded in the capital Riyadh for smuggling heroin.

The ministry did not specify the amount of drugs involved in either case.

So far this year, 53 people have been executed in the kingdom, compared to 29 in all of 1998.

Human rights groups have criticized Saudi Arabia’s executions, claiming that suspects generally do not receive fair trials. The kingdom’s Islamic courts impose death sentences for murder, rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Executions usually are carried out with a sword in public.

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