Saudi Arabia on Sunday beheaded a citizen convicted of murdering an Ethiopian taxi driver, the state-run news agency said.

Ahmed Bin Mohammed Farajallah was convicted of murdering taxi driver Mohammed Adam Jamee, an Interior Ministry statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency said. It said Farajallah had made Jamee drive to an unpopulated district and then beat, robbed and finally stabbed him to death.

The execution brings to 16 the number of people executed this year in Saudi Arabia, where death sentences are carried out in public by an executioner with a sword.

Farajallah had been on the run after assaulting other taxi drivers in the kingdom, and had confessed to the crimes as well as to being a heroin addict, the press agency said.

Saudi Arabia's strict penal code, based on Islamic law, allows the death sentence for murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery.

Last year, 38 people were given a death sentence and beheaded, and 83 were executed in 2005.

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