Today, the Saudi government carried out its 100th execution of 2015. Last week, when the tally stood at 94, ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla wrote an op-ed for Middle East Eye that linked the rising rate of capital punishment to the monarchy’s influence over the legal system.

Saudi Arabia is on the verge of breaking a record for the most beheadings in a single year. While it is unlikely to surpass China and Iran in total executions, the kingdom is the only country to impose capital punishment by public beheading, and it is on pace to kill more people than it ever has before.

In the past six months, the Saudi government has executed at least 94 people – compared with 87 in all of 2014, according to AFP. This news should be shocking, but too many in the media have taken it as a matter of course. Saudi Arabia’s capital punishment practices are so harsh that casual observers of Gulf politics have missed the significance of a distressing increase in executions from 2014 to 2015. Indeed, as the number of executions continued to mount during the spring, The New York Times published an article, titled “Saudi Justice, Harsh but Able to Spare the Sword,” highlighting the possibility of clemency within the system.

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