Saudi Arabia beheads 2 Pakistani heroin smugglers

The Saudi Interior Ministry says two Pakistani nationals convicted of smuggling heroin into the country have been executed in the eastern city of Dammam. A ministry statement carried Thursday by the official Saudi Press Agency says Shir-Zada Sahib-Zada Qul brought the drug into the country and Youssef-Khan Nour Mohammed received it. It did not say when. Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed, usually by sword. According to an Associated Press count, Thursday's executions bring to 63 the number of people beheaded this year in the kingdom. Last year, 137 people were beheaded, up sharply from 38 in 2006.