Saudi authorities on Thursday executed two soldiers, including a pilot, who were convicted of “high treason”, the Ministry of Defense announced, without further specifying the nature of the charges against them.

The two officers, Lieutenant General Majid bin Musa Awad al-Balawi and Major Yousef bin Rada Hassan al-Azuni, were arrested in September 2017.

Both were found guilty of “treason” and “dereliction of duty” towards “the country and the honor of military service”.

Their executions took place in Taif (west), where the authorities expressed confidence in the “faithful men of the armed forces”.

Military killings are rare in Saudi Arabia, where the armed forces are extremely secretive.

The most recent executions of this kind in the kingdom date back to April 2021, when three soldiers who had also been accused of “treason” were put to death.

A total of 106 people have been killed since the start of the year in Saudi Arabia, according to an AFP tally based on official announcements.

In 2022, authorities in the kingdom executed 147 people, according to Amnesty International.

Saudi Arabia is at the top of the world ranking of states that apply the death penalty, behind only China and Iran, according to the same NGO.