Saudi Arabia has executed 81 people in the last 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges of “allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations” and holding “deviant beliefs,” thus making it the Kingdom’s largest known mass execution in its modern history.
The figure outnumbers the 67 executions announced in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.
“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” according to reports on Saturday, citing a statement from the Saudi interior ministry.
“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations, such as Daesh/ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.
“The Kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.
According to other reports, the individuals included 37 Saudi nationals who were convicted in a single instance of attempting to murder security personnel and attacking police stations and convoys.
The last time Saudi Arabia carried out a mass execution was in January 2016, when it executed 47 individuals, including a prominent Shia opposition leader who had organized protests in the country.
In 2019, the Kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi nationals, the majority of them were Shia minorities, in a nationwide execution for supposed “terrorism”-related offenses.
Since the assassination of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has been under increased criticism from rights groups and Western partners.