In fact, it’s often said that the Gulf kingdom performs executions at the same rate and for the similar reasons the terrorist Islamic State decapitates people.
However, one Saudi official recently rejected the comparison, stating a “clear difference” between the terrorist outfit and his nation.
"When we do it in Saudi Arabia, we do it as a decision made by a court," Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told NBC. "The killing is a decision, I mean it is not based on arbitrary choices, to kill this and not to kill this. ISIS has no legitimate way to decide to kill people."
He added it was a "crime" to kill somebody "without legitimate basis, without a justice system" and that the Saudi government and monarchy punishes instead of murdering people.
Turki’s interview comes amid international criticism of Saudi Arabia over the flogging of secular human rights activist and blogger Raif Badawi as well as the public beheading a Burmese woman convicted of molesting and murdering her 7-year-old stepdaughter.
Last year, when almost 68 people were beheaded, the conservative Islamic state came under increased scrutiny by the United Nations after an upsurge of executions – one per day – was reported in August.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia carried out the fourth most executions in the world (79), according to Amnesty International, twice as many as the United States (39), and coming in after Iraq, Iran and China.
Even worse is the fact that there is little hope of any improvement since the situation continues to look bleak under the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Just on Sunday, a convicted murderer was beheaded, bringing the count of executed people to five since the new monarch took office on Jan. 23.