Dozens of Saudi Arabian citizens reportedly accused of carrying out acts tied to terrorism were executed by the country on Tuesday. The beheadings of the 37 individuals were authorized by King Salman through a royal decree, The Associated Press reported.
Many of those killed were Shiites, Amnesty International and Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed separately claimed.
People in the executed group allegedly embraced extremist ideologies and started terrorist cells, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. The individuals were found guilty according to the law and ordered executed by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh and the country's high court, the statement reportedly said.
State-run media, such as the Saudi news channel al-Ekhbariya, aired the statement, according to the outlet.
The body of one person killed in the executions, which took place in various parts of the country, was displayed in public, The Associated Press reported.
Amnesty International condemned the executions, labeling them “a chilling demonstration of the authorities' disregard for human life.”
“The majority of those executed were Shi’a men who were convicted after sham trials that violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture,” the organization said in an article shared on Twitter.
Al-Ahmed asserted that the killings were “the largest mass execution of Shiites in the kingdom's history,” claiming to have noted 34 Shiites among a list of names of the dead, according to The Associated Press.
Saudi Arabia's supreme council of clerics, reportedly all ultraconservative Sunnis, said the executions were carried out in accordance with Islamic law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.