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Saudi beheads and crucifies murder convict

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May 30, 2009 11:24 AM EST | AP

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities beheaded and crucified a man convicted of brutally slaying an 11-year-old boy and his father, the Interior Ministry announced.

According to the statement issued by the ministry Friday, shop owner Ahmed al-Anzi molested the boy and then strangled him with a length of rope. He then stabbed the boy's father to death when the man came looking for his son.

He hid both the bodies in his shop, the statement said, adding that al-Anzi threatened police with a knife when they came to arrest him.

Al-Anzi had previously been convicted of sodomy and owning pornographic films, a crime in conservative Saudi Arabia.

Crucifying the headless body in a public place is a way to set an example, according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam. Normally those convicted of rape, murder and drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia are just beheaded.

London-based rights group Amnesty International criticized al-Anzi's execution and crucifixion.

"It is horrific that beheading and crucifixions still happen," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International in a statement Friday.

"King Abdullah should show true leadership and commute all death sentences if Saudi Arabia is to have any role to play as a global leader or member of the G20," said Sahraoui.

According to an Associated Press count, Friday's execution brought the number to 35 beheading this year in the kingdom. In 2008, 102 people were beheaded.