Saudi beheads Syrian for drug smuggling

Saudi authorities beheaded on Tuesday a Syrian man convicted of trying to smuggle narcotics into the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Hussam al-Rjoob had attempted to "smuggle a large amount of narcotic tablets," the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

His execution in the northern province of Jawf brings to 51 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year.

In 2012, the Gulf country put 76 people to death, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. Human Rights Watch has put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.