Saudi Arabia Executes, Crucifies Man Convicted of Murder

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For the first time in eight years, Saudi Arabia has crucified a man’s body as part of his punishment.

Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen of Myanmar was executed on Wednesday in Mecca, the Saudi Press Agency reported, although it didn't specify the nature of his execution. His body was subsequently publicly displayed post-mortem on a cross. Most executions in Saudi Arabia are performed by beheading the condemned with a sword.

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Although Saudi Arabia has the third-highest number of capital punishments per year in the world, according to Amnesty International, crucifixions remain extremely rare. Only China and Iran execute more people per year.

Jamaleddeen was convicted of breaking into a woman's home, firing a weapon in it and stabbing her to death, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, which oversees the directorates of Corrections and Court Services. He was also accused of stealing weapons and trying to kill another man, as well as attempting to rape a woman.

The last time the kingdom crucified a person was in 2010, when a Yemeni man's body was displayed following his execution for having raped and murdered a girl and shot her father dead, Bloomberg noted.

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Nearly 150 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year, according to Human Rights Watch, most of whom were punished for nonviolent offenses such as drug-related crimes.

In an April interview with Time Magazine, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the effective power behind the throne of his aging father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, said he would consider reducing death sentences for crimes other than murder to life imprisonment.

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