A Lack of Swordsmen May Lead Saudis to Abolish Beheadings

Saudi Arabia is considering the abolishment of execution by beheading in favor of death by firing squad

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ISHARA S.KODIKARA / AFP / Getty Images

Protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, hold pictures of Rizana Nafeek on Jan. 11, 2013, following her execution by Saudi authorities

Is this what progress looks like in Saudi Arabia? The kingdom is considering ending execution by beheading in favor of firing squads, reports the Egyptian English-language news website Ahram Online. A committee consisting of representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Health says there are shortages in government swordsmen and argue that a change to execution by firing squad would not violate Islamic law, the Saudi daily newspaper al-Youm writes. According to an official statement from the committee, “This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents.”

Execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia has continually been condemned by human-rights groups. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at least 69 people were executed by beheading in 2012, while Amnesty International says 79 were killed under the death penalty in the same period. In 2012 HRW wrote, “Saudi Arabia has no penal code, so prosecutors and judges largely define criminal offenses at their discretion.” Rape, murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking and even suspected “sorcery” are punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s Islamic law.

(MORE: Sri Lankan Maids Become Victims in Saudi Arabia)

The Saudi death penalty recently made headlines following the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan woman who was beheaded for the murder of her employers’ 4-month-old son. Nafeek arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2005 at age 17 but spent the next seven years in Saudi jails after the baby died under her care, writes CNN. The family of the boy believed he had been strangled by Nafeek, while she claimed he had choked on his milk. The young Sri Lankan immigrant had no access to a lawyer during her pretrial interrogation during which she said she was forced to sign a confession, notes CNN. The execution of this young woman revealed how “woefully out of step they [the Saudi justice system] are with their international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther from Amnesty International. It highlighted how Saudi law tends to treat children as adults in criminal cases even though international law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18, writes HRW.

A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that Ban insists on the application of international human-rights law for all men and women in Saudi Arabia, regardless of their migration status or nationality. “We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join the growing world’s movement away from the death penalty,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, representatives from Riyadh have rejected these calls as “external interference” and claim that Saudi Arabia “respects … all rules and laws and protects the rights of its people and residents,” writes Ahram Online.

MORE: In Saudi Arabia, Dissent Is Alive and Well, but Only Online or in Private

104 comments
KaraDemeulle
KaraDemeulle

like Rhonda answered I'm startled that a mother able to earn $6590 in one month on the internet. did you read this webpage..   buzz75.ℂom


brit1066
brit1066 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Hold on a minute, barbaric as beheading is, burning at the stake is no less barbaric and it was not that long ago that burning at the stake was bought to you by those lovely people at the ROMAN CATHOLIC church. In fact when the catholics torched churches full of Huguenotsin 16th century France the pope at the time was so delighted with the slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women  and CHILDREN that he proclaimed a holiday and several days of feasting in celebration. 

Then remember the Salem witch trials were WOMEN (not MEN) were tried and executed for WITCHCRAFT which is also known as SORCERY. Sound familiar.

All of this butchery was committed NOT BY MUSLIMS but by wonderful GOD FEARING CHRISTIANS, you know just like your good old boy neighbour who goes to church every Sunday.

Now don't get me wrong BEHEADING is vile and inhuman but don't forget the countries that do this are not blessed with our sense of enlightenment they are backward and barbaric. But so were we not long ago and we professed to be CHRISTIANS.

Think about it.


TimWohlford
TimWohlford

@brit1066 Hasn't been that long since liberal atheists killed 100 million people in less than 100 years.  They were called "Communists".  Think about it.

FancyLads
FancyLads

@brit1066

You're an idiot.

1. The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, and other Huguenot massacres occurred during a 16th century religious civil war in France, not in the day to day business of a 21st century court system in an extremely wealthy country.

Men were tried and executed during the Salem witch trials. John Willard, George Burroughs, George Jacobs, Sr., Samuel Wardwell, Wilmot Redd, and John Proctor were all men, who were tried, convicted and executed for witchcraft during the witch trials. In fact almost as many men as women died were executed during the hysteria. Maybe get your history from other sources than Buffy.

That "good old boy" you're denigrating comes from religious traditions and theological practices that have no relationship to pre-enlightenment Roman Catholicism, and quite often were it's victims. The man you're talking about is a strawman constructed from your own ignorance.

Nothing that you said (or claimed) has any bearing on the subject, it's merely venting your ignorance.

baronhas
baronhas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@brit1066


Why do Catholic bashers like to bring up ancient history?

brimcp
brimcp

@baronhas @brit1066 ..... I would ask the exact same question of the catholic religion in general .... why do they always bring up old, outdated material from their only source of hearsay type information?  You know, the bible.  Since catholics ALWAYS bring up ANCIENT history, they shouldn't whine and complain when somebody else does the exact same thing.  Go look up the definition of hypocrisy again ..... you need a refresher

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@baronhas @brit1066 Because it's rather hard nowadays to see somebody getting burned at the stake in the name of God, so they have to warp back to an earlier time to rant.

AlexKo
AlexKo like.author.displayName 1 Like

One beheading every 5 days in all of Saudi Arabia, how many swordsmen do they need for this?

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AlexKo I guess that depends. Do they still have to travel by camel AND do they recieve pre-paid travel expenses or do they have to stop and work along the way to provide adequately for themselves?

toadstool46
toadstool46 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Bloody savages.

Thetruthteller
Thetruthteller

@toadstool46Oh, you lover of dystopia, you promoter of entropy! You assailer of the bulwarks of public morality and panderer to anomie! :)

larryjab
larryjab

instead of beheading the women, the Saudis should just put them on magic carpets and fly them over to the US. All they want is love and honor. 

Gnabergasher
Gnabergasher like.author.displayName 1 Like

Glad we're so cozy with these guys but then say Saddam was hurting his people.

TimWohlford
TimWohlford like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Gnabergasher Get real.  Saddam threatened 40% or more of the world's oil supply.   We got involved in Libya 'cause they have oil, and sit out the Syrian thing 'cause they don't have oil.  So, what we need is FRACKING so we can substitute natural gas for most of the crude oil.  Agree?

AbdulAmeer
AbdulAmeer like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is real progress -- instead of beheading "sorcerers", the Saudi Moslems will shoot them to death. All according to Islamic law which, indeed, prescribes the death penalty for sorcery.

Of course, Saudi Arabia can never abolish the death penalty. No Moslem country can abolish it because it is mandated by Allah in the Koran.

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@AbdulAmeer But I would still prefer the sorcery and all on a DVD or TV. Now, even WE are getting blamed for the death of Chaves by voodoo and about anybody else that's pissed at us, nowadays. Blame it on the evil sorcerers in the States! The problem is that there are ALOT of people that BELIEVE IT! Are humans actually 'evolving into something 'better' or something else a little less certain?

chazroot
chazroot

When I become Emperor of Space-Time, remind me not to make the same mistake the Saudi royal family has in banning movie theaters.  This is what happens when several generations grow up without Star Wars, light sabre toys, and Captain Jack Sparrow playsets.

SimonCohen
SimonCohen

The "progress" in Saudi Arabia is coming big time! Perhaps next big thing on the chopping block will be chopping off arms!

mn69813
mn69813 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I suppose if you drew an idiot judge who failed to distinguish between sorcery and saucers you'd really be screwed.

softeky
softeky like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

At last, an occupation where fewer people will be facing cuts.

antihero.503.76
antihero.503.76

I love a good beheading, however I always stand in the back as to avoid the splatter. No sense in ruining a nice pair of slacks.

jika
jika

This is plain crazy! why can't they kill people in a different way?  if they want the whole world to watch, they can just televise it when they are giving the shot

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@jika People are sometimes VERY resistent to change. If they had guns long ago, when this punishment was established, they would probably have been used - and used for this continually until today, with no other instrument of execution permitted for punishment of this kind of crime . old dogs - new tricks?

SimonCohen
SimonCohen like.author.displayName 1 Like

@jika Yes, but rolling head is a much better spectacle.

parksle2
parksle2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is an easy fix just build a machine to swing the blade with clamps to hold the head. Then it will be an easy clean up with a trash can to drop the head in and a fire hose..

CosmicMuffin
CosmicMuffin

@parksle2Maybe France has some extra guillotines

parksle2
parksle2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@CosmicMuffin @parksle2 yes but think they would rather have a swinging blade and not just a dropping one. I agree with you but you know those people are stuck with tradition.

CosmicMuffin
CosmicMuffin

Dear Saudi Peoples,

You are not following the Ten Commandments.  You will all burn in Hell.

Yours truly,

God

heliocracy
heliocracy

@CosmicMuffin 

Dear Saudi Peoples,

There is no God, so everyone you've ever killed in his name were simply murdered.  You are murderers.

Yours truly,

Reason

Harcore1
Harcore1

@heliocracy@CosmicMuffin 

 What do you fail to comprehend about "Rape, murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking"? They were killed for committing crimes not in the name of God or anyone else.

brit1066
brit1066

@CosmicMuffin Better to burn in hell than to spend time with the likes of the little NAZI  and his dad in heavem.

alfredlaplouse
alfredlaplouse

You all have to remember that according to the Islamic calendar it is 1443 and those folks sure behave like it was the Middle Ages.

nofate
nofate

@alfredlaplouseSo when the salvation army from the states and UK set up base in the middle east and start the massacre, Obviously in the name of freedom, Do they time travel to reach there???

zgryphon
zgryphon

Ah, excellent.  At this rate it'll be 1830 in Saudi Arabia by the end of the year.

KenyattaBecktemba
KenyattaBecktemba like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

For some it's the stigma attached to the job title .  Instead of swordsman, how decapitation  engineer  specialist?  Boy I bet they would be lining up for the job

TrajanSaldana
TrajanSaldana like.author.displayName 1 Like

i prefer cranial separation technician

ManishGupte,PhD
ManishGupte,PhD

Yes, I can volunteer. Once the person has been clearly proven to be guilty for a bad crime by their courts, I will be happy to do that. Email me. No jokes.

Badly-Bent
Badly-Bent

Why don't they try outsourcing it to another country?

NatTy
NatTy

I am a swordsmen.  Even have my own sword.  Hire me.  But i need a 2 hour lunch