Riyadh: Saudi authorities beheaded on Wednesday a national after he was convicted of murder, the interior ministry said.

Salim Bin Hassan Al Essi was found guilty of shooting dead Omar Bin Shami Al Shardi, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

His beheading in the western city of Qunfadhah brings to 66 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year, according to an AFP count.

In 2012, the conservative Muslim kingdom carried out 76 executions, according to a tally based on official figures. Human Rights Watch has put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the Gulf state’s strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.