A Saudi man was beheaded by the sword on Tuesday after being convicting of shooting dead a compatriot, the interior ministry said.

Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Ghayeb al-Qahtani was found guilty of killing Saif bin Hasan aL-Lajzem after he opened fire at him in a dispute, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

He was executed in the southwestern city of Abha, bringing to 38 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP tally based on official and human rights group reports.

In June, London-based watchdog Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to stop applying the death penalty, saying there had been a significant rise in the number of executions in the previous six weeks.

It said 15 people were executed in May alone.

In 2009, the number of executions reached 67, compared to 102 in 2008.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. - AFP