Execution pictures reveal desperation

Three men have been hanged in a Kuwait car park - the Gulf Arab country's first execution in six years.

Kuwait authorities executed three convicted murderers, one of whom puffed desperately on a cigarette as he was led onto the scaffolding, reports the Daily Mail.

The three, a Pakistani, a Saudi and a stateless man, were hooded and bound before being hung from gallows in a car park outside the Central Prison.

Official pictures showed the blindfolded men with hands bound being led up a short flight of stairs. Nooses are placed around their necks before a trapdoor opens beneath their feet.

The Daily Mail reports that an executioner, his hand still on the handle that operates the trap door through which the prisoner falls to his death, looks down with a colleague at the lifeless body.

A doctor then examine the executed men, checking their hearts, to confirm the sentence was complete.

State news agency KUNA said the men were found guilty in three separate murder cases. Authorities had invited journalists from Kuwaiti publications to witness the executions.

A Saudi man smokes his last cigarette before being hanged for the murder of a compatriot just west of the capital Kuwait City. A series of shocking and graphic images were released from the execution. Picture: AFP/Getty

Kuwait, which has a population of about 3.5 million, operates a judicial system which is a mixture of Islamic Sharia law, English common law, and the Ottoman civil code. The state carried out 72 executions (69 men and three women) between 1964 and 2007.

Crimes that carry the death sentence include drug trafficking, murder and treason. Sentences are not carried out publically however members of the media act as witnesses and pictures are published in the hope it will act as a deterrent. KUNA say 48 people remain on death row in Kuwait.

Amnesty International have condemned the executions. Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Ann Harrison told thinktank Ekklesia: "These are the first executions carried out in Kuwait since 2007 and mark a deplorable setback for human rights in the country."