U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while on Capitol Hill in Washington

John Kerry Arrives in Saudi Arabia Amidst Unprecedented Rise in State Executions

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia coincides with a recent surge of executions in that country.

So far this year, at least 39 people have reportedly been put to death by authorities.

Amnesty International’s researcher on Saudi Arabia, Sevag Kechichian, told The Independent, “Since the beginning of the year we’ve seen an unprecedented rate of executions in the country.”

“Despite claims sometimes made by the authorities about carrying out executions to deter terrorism and other violence in the kingdom, almost half of this year’s executions have actually been for non-violent drugs-related offenses,” said Kechician. “There’s no real rhyme or reason for this upsurge in executions, and in a way this makes it all the more alarming.”

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