Saudia Arabia beheaded a Pakistani man on Wednesday, marking the 83rd beheading this year – the most in more than five years.
The unnamed man was convicted of smuggling "large quantities" of heroin, the kingdom's state news agency reported. He is the 13th prisoner from Pakistan to be executed in Saudi Arabia since mid-October.
A tally of official announcements from the Saudi Press regarding beheadings brings the total to 83 in 2014. The majority of those executed were convicted of drug smuggling.
Amnesty International claims Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. The organisation lists 79 executions during 2012-2013, and 82 in 2010-2011. The human rights group says at least 69 people were executed in the state in 2009.
Topping the list of highest number of executions this year are Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US.
However, these figures do not include China. The number of people executed in this country is a state secret, but the US-based humanitarian organisation Dui Hua Foundation estimates that 2,400 people would have been executed during 2014.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Sharia – Islamic law – and applies the death penalty for a number of crimes including murder, rape, apostasy and witchcraft. The kingdom has come under fire from human rights groups in the past for executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.