Saudi Arabia has executed an average of five people every week this year, according to Amnesty International. The group describes Saudi Arabia as "one of the most prolific executioners in the world", revealing that the country executed more than 2,000 people between 1985 and 2016.

The conservative Kingdom carried out its 100th execution of the year on Tuesday (3 October), the Saudi state news agency said. In the past three months, 60 people have been put to death by Saudi executioners.

Amnesty International condemned Saudi Arabia's "execution spree" which has seen an average of five people put to death per week.

"The Saudi authorities have been using the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent and rein in minorities with callous disregard for human life," said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East.

She said that if Saudi authorities are "truly intent on making reforms, they must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty completely."

40% of the recent executions were for drug-related offences which should not be punishable by death, according to Amnesty.

The death penalty is handed down as a sentence to those who have been found guilty of murder, rape, terrorism, armed robbery, drug trafficking and sometimes apostasy charges.

33 members of Saudi Arabia's Shia Muslim community currently face the death penalty after being accused of committing crimes that jeopardised the country's national security.

Three of them are men who carried out the alleged crimes when they were under 18 and claim that they were tortured into "confessing."

saudi arabia executions
Royal family members are rarely executed. The last execution of a royal family member was in 1975. [representational image] Reuters