RIYADH - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed a convicted Pakistani heroin smuggler and a Saudi murderer, adding to a toll which rights group Amnesty International says is the kingdom’s highest in two decades. The interior ministry said the Pakistani, Khan Iqbal, was put to death in the holy city of Mecca for smuggling a large amount of heroin in his intestines.

In a separate case, Saudi national Haydar al-Ridwan was executed in the eastern city of Qatif. He had been convicted of gunning down two Saudis after an argument, the interior ministry said.

According to AFP tallies, the cases of Iqbal and Ridwan bring to 150 the number of locals and foreigners put to death this year, against 87 for all of 2014.

London-based Amnesty says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year is the highest since 192 people were put to death in 1995.

The toll has rarely exceeded 90 annually in recent years, it said.

Reasons for the surge are unclear.

Over the last few weeks, however, there had been a marked drop in executions, all of which are reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi executions are usually carried out by beheading with a sword.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom and say the death penalty should not be applied in drug cases.

Last month the European Union issued a statement saying a number of people had been put to death recently in Saudi Arabia after convictions for drug trafficking.

“The European Union is opposed to capital punishment in all cases and without exception,” it said.