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Saudi Arabia executes two Syrian nationals for smuggling narcotics

May 13, 2024 at 4:33 pm

A member of the Saudi police in Saudi Arabia on 17 September 2015 [MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has executed two Syrians over their alleged involvement in drug smuggling within the Kingdom, as the trafficking of narcotics from Syria continues to plague the region.

According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Ministry of Interior released a statement announcing the execution of two criminals of Syrian nationality on Saturday, 11 May, in the Kingdom’s north-western Tabuk region.

Having been caught by authorities for allegedly smuggling amphetamine pills on an unspecified date, the two Syrians – named Imad Mahmoud Hussein and Mustafa Mahmoud Hussein – were handed a decree confirming their guilt and subsequently sentenced to death. That ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, with a royal decree enforcing it.

READ: Saudi minister says region has seen ‘explosive growth’ in synthetic drugs

In its statement, the Saudi Interior Ministry emphasised that the government is committed to combating narcotics of all kinds and the severe harm they cause to both society and individuals, as well as the authorities’ enforcement of the harshest penalties.

Over the past five years, at least tens of millions of Captagon pills – a type of amphetamine – have been seized throughout the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa, with Jordan and Saudi Arabia particularly being key destinations and transit locations for the trafficking operations.

It was first thought by many that the terror group, Daesh, was responsible for Captagon’s production and exports, but it was discovered that Syria’s Assad regime and its allied militias are responsible for the operations, utilising the drug trade to circumvent international sanctions.