Saudi Arabia carries out mass execution of 81 prisoners

Saudi Arabia carries out a mass execution of 81 prisoners on Saturday. 81 people convicted of crimes ranging from killings to belonging to militant and terrorist groups were all killed in one mass execution – the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

Mass execution of 81 prisoners – biggest in modern history

The number of executed surpassed even the toll of a January 1980 mass execution for the 63 militants convicted of seizing the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979, the worst-ever militant attack to target the kingdom and Islam’s holiest pilgrimage site.

It was unclear why the kingdom chose Saturday for the executions, though they came as much of the world’s attention remained focused on Russia’s war on Ukraine.

They were bad people – does that make it okay?

The state-run Saudi Press Agency announced Saturday’s executions, saying they included those “convicted of various crimes, including the murdering of innocent men, women and children”.

The kingdom also said some of those executed were members of al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and also backers of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-backed Houthis since 2015 in neighbouring Yemen.

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