RIYADH, April 14 (AFP) - Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz said Friday that Riyadh would continue to apply a version of strict Islamic law, or sharia, which he claimed did not violate human rights.

"The respect of human rights is present in Islam and sharia, and no other law on earth could be more just to man than Islam," Prince Nayef said, quoted by the official SPA news agency.

Prince Nayef also dubbed the Amnesty International report released March 28 on human rights "violations" in Saudi Arabia as "clearly a tendentious campaign against Islam to misrepresent it."

Amnesty accused Saudi Arabia of arbitrary arrests, torture and executions, the persecution of political opponents and religious minorities and cruel judicial punishments, including amputations.

The kingdom rejected the charges made by the London-based human rights organisation but said it was ready for a special rapporteur to visit to check on the independence of its judicial system.

The conservative Gulf kingdom regularly imposes the death penalty on murderers, drug traffickers, rapists, armed robbers and those convicted of apostasy, and also orders the amputation of the hands -- or less often feet -- of convicted thieves.

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