Saudi Arabia has executed three soldiers convicted of “high treason” and “cooperating with the enemy”, with a statement from the kingdom’s defence ministry saying the trio was sentenced to death by a specialist court after a fair trial.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency identified the men as soldiers working in the defence ministry. It did not elaborate on how the men aided the kingdom’s enemies.
The ministry did not name the “enemy” either but the executions on Saturday were carried out in the southern province bordering Yemen where Saudi Arabia has been at war for more than six years against the Iran-backed Houthi fighters.
Saudi Arabia has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of women’s rights activists.
Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have called on Riyadh to stop the use of the death penalty, citing allegations of torture and unfair trials.
Saudi Arabia denies the accusations.
According to Amnesty figures, Saudi Arabia carried out the world’s third-highest number of executions in 2019.