RIYADH, Feb 19, 2007 (AFP) – Four Sri Lankans convicted of armed robbery were beheaded by the sword in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Monday, the interior ministry said. Victor Korea, Ranjith De Silva, Santhosh Kumar and Sharmila Sangeeth Kumar were executed for robbing a number of businesses at gunpoint, the ministry said in a statement published by the official SPA news agency.
The beheadings bring to 15 the number of executions announced by the Saudi government so far this year.
For the whole of 2006, at least 37 people were executed, while 83 were put to death in 2005 and 35 the year before, according to AFP tallies based on official statements.
Executions are usually carried out in public in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking can all carry the death penalty.