Amnesty International Thursday called Saudi Arabia’s execution of two Pakistani nationals for drug-related crimes a “callous attack on the right of life.” Amnesty International reports that Saudi Arabia has carried out 128 executions this year alone.Amnesty International Acting Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Diana Semann critiqued Saudi Arabia’s return to the death penalty for drug-related offences, saying, “trampling on the official moratorium on drug related crimes, they arbitrarily took the lives of two Pakistani nationals … Saudi Arabia must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty in the country.”In 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission released statement lauding their sharp decrease in executions. The document reported only 27 executions in 2020, 85 percent less than in 2019 and promised a ban on capital punishment for crimes committed by minors. Commission president Awwad Alawaad said the news was “a sign that the Kingdom and its justice system are focusing more on rehabilitation and prevention than solely on punishment. The moratorium on drug-related offences means the Kingdom is giving more non-violent criminals a second chance.” Despite the reported moratorium, there was no official change to Saudi laws.

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