Saudi Arabia beheads 3 men convicted of drug smuggling

Saudi authorities beheaded three men Monday - an Iraqi, an Indian and a Pakistani - for smuggling drugs into the kingdom, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Iraqi Ahmed Awfi al-Khazaali was convicted of sneaking hashish into the country and was executed in northern Saudi Arabia, said a statement by the Interior Ministry carried by SPA. The Indian, Rashid Ahmed Hussein, and the Pakistani, Wasie-Ullah Khan, were convicted of smuggling heroin and both were executed in the holy city of Mecca, the statement said. Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed. Monday's executions bring the number of people beheaded this year to 22, according to an Associated Press count. Saudi Arabia beheaded 137 people last year, up sharply from the 38 executed in 2006.