Saudi Arabia hanged 81 individuals on Saturday, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian, for terrorism and other charges such as possessing “deviant views,” according to officials. It was the country’s largest mass execution in decades.

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The total outnumbers the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 reported in 2020.

“These 81 people were found guilty of a variety of crimes, including the murder of innocent men, women, and children,” the interior ministry stated in a statement.

“These individuals’ crimes also include declaring allegiance to international terrorist organizations like ISIS (Islamic State), al Qaeda, and the Houthis,” it continued.

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Some went to war zones to join “terrorist organizations,” according to the statement.

The executions were carried out in an undisclosed manner, according to the ministry.

According to the government, the men included 37 Saudi citizens who were convicted in a single case of attempting to assassinate security agents and targeting police stations and convoys.

According to state media sources, the kingdom murdered 63 people in one day in 1980, a year after extremists seized Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

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In 2016, 47 individuals were executed in one day, including notable Shiite Muslim preacher Nimr al-Nimr.

Saudi Arabia has been accused by human rights organisations of implementing restrictive rules on political and religious expression, as well as of utilizing the death sentence, including for defendants imprisoned as juveniles.

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Saudi Arabia dismisses allegations of human rights violations, claiming that it follows its laws to safeguard its national security.

The accused were given the right to an attorney and were assured their full rights under Saudi law during the legal procedure, according to SPA, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency.

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