Saudi Arabia said it executed 37 of its citizens on Tuesday after they were convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the kingdom, which is one of the world’s top executioners.
The sentences were carried out in Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, central Qassim province and Eastern Province, home to the country’s Shiite minority.
The men were executed “for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilize security,” a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency said.
The Interior Ministry said the executions were carried out by beheading and that two of the executed men’s bodies were publicly pinned to a poll for several hours in a process that is not frequently used by the kingdom and has sparked controversy for its grisly display.
Saudi Press Agency said that one person was crucified after his execution, a punishment reserved for particularly serious crimes.
The Interior Ministry statement said the individuals had been found guilty according to the law and ordered executed by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, which specializes in terrorism trials, and the country’s high court.
The individuals were found guilty of attacking security installations with explosives, killing a number of security officers and cooperating with enemy organizations against the interests of the country, the Interior Ministry said.
The statement named all those executed, which included several from large families and tribes in Saudi Arabia.
The mass execution that took place Tuesday was ratified by a royal decree. It comes a day after Daesh terror group said it was behind an attack on Sunday on a Saudi security building in the town of Zulfi in which all four gunmen were killed and three security officers were wounded.
At least 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, according to a count based on official data released by SPA.
Last year, the oil-rich Gulf state carried out the death sentences of 149 people, according to Amnesty International, which said only Iran was known to have executed more people.
Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia.
People convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking face the death penalty, which the government says is a deterrent for further crime.