Elucidating in a sentence
In some cases, groups with heterodox beliefs may have been considered rebels, or, instead, corrupt on earth (these are not the same), although whether this carried a judicial penalty is unclear from the sources we referenced.
 The Hanbali school of law does not treat rebellion as carrying religiously stipulated penalties,  so it may be that the death penalty for treason in Saudi Arabia is awarded as hadd when the offenders are guilty of spreading corruption on earth or as ta’zir if they are simply guilty of rebellion.
An article published in Al-Adl indicates that not all Saudi appellate courts agree on the correct application of narcotics laws to those who possess drugs—some arguing that those who possess requisite amounts should be presumed to be engaged in trafficking, others arguing that possession should be considered trafficking based on other factors. In Saudi Arabia, individuals can be and have been sentenced to death and executed for apostasy. A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras.
(A finding of trafficking could trigger the death penalty under Royal Decree no.  Although there is no contemporary consensus on the treatment of apostasy, it is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.
There are reports that at least one execution in January 2009 and two in 2008 may have taken place by shooting.  Dozens or possibly hundreds are believed to be on death row,  but no official data is available and we cannot confirm an exact figure.  Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. The Nation, Saudi Arabia executes 7 for murder, drugs offences, Nov. Amnesty International, Fourteen men at imminent risk of beheading as Saudi Arabia continues bloody execution spree, https:// Jul. Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia death toll reaches 100 as authorities carry out execution spree, https:// Oct. Reprieve, Executions surge among UK’s allies, Jan. Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia: mass execution largest since 1980, https://org/news/2016/01/04/saudi-arabia-mass-execution-largest-1980, Jan. Aggravated murder may be punishable by death as both hadd and qisas. A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras.  Ta’zir penalties may be pardoned by the public authority.
 Over the past few years, reported executions have been almost exclusively by beheading,  despite the prevalence of media discussion of the possibility of death by stoning. The imposition of death sentences is shrouded in secrecy.  This offense may include (but not be limited to) offenses such as murder during robbery or murder involving seclusion, treachery, or other methods rendering the victim helpless (or that have the effect of spreading terror)—in this case, the murder may be punished by death as hadd.  “Islamic law presumes that any sane person who intentionally kills a person with a weapon, is a sinner deserving perdition according to the Qur’an and that the murderer is subject to retaliation.”  Murder is punishable by death as qisas (retaliation) or diya (compensation instead of execution), but there is some disagreement over which circumstances allow qisas.  That is the background for the Saudi laws on this matter. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. Exceptional cases where the ta’zir death penalty may apply are defined in the texts of the various schools of Islamic law—still, it is reasonable to insist on the codification of ta’zir penalties to assure they are not arbitrarily applied. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. For a discussion of sources of law and early codification in Islamic states, see S.
Judicially inflicting the death penalty as hadd would require a finding that the rebel was actually spreading “corruption on earth” due to his actions (such as spreading terror) or because the rebel did not espouse a reasonably legitimate cause. Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr.
 Traditionally, apostates are afforded a period of time to turn back to Islam,  but the death penalty still applies under this rule (in jurisdictions that provide for it)—an individual who persists in his opinion will be executed, thus, there is ultimately no freedom to publically adhere to a divergent opinion without being executed. Judges reportedly treat gay and lesbian sexual relations as zina, applying the penalty of death or lashing according to the circumstances.  These penalties can “neither be reduced nor augmented.”  A hadd penalty should not be awarded unless stringent evidentiary requirements are met,  and scholars point out rules suggesting that courts should avoid applying hudud penalties whenever possible. src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun.  To some extent, this can limit the mandatory nature of the death penalty for hadd offenses, by making it extremely difficult to apply them. It might be possible for Saudi courts to achieve a discretionary, non-arbitrary standard by limiting application of hudud penalties to cases that are particularly egregious and unmitigated by any form of doubt, but we have seen no evidence that Saudi courts apply hadd penalties in a narrow, non-arbitrary fashion—so the death penalty as hadd can be considered mandatory in Saudi Arabia.
Qisas offenses are considered offenses against the individual’s body (such as murder or harm), and some presumptive penalties (and alternatives) are described in the Quran and developed in the Sunna and schools of Islam.
The conditions under which treason was historically punished by death have been limited. MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, تصديق الدول على الميثاق العربي لحقوق الإنسان.pdf?