Saudi Arabia Considers Halt On Beheadings . . . Due To Shortage of Swordsmen

220px-Froissart_Chronicles,_executionAt first, this article sounded like a reform in the making out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: the government is considering a moratorium on beheadings. However, the reason is not some sudden modernization and rejection of medieval Sharia laws. Saudi is facing a labor crisis of sorts: there are too few swordsmen to dispatch the guilty.

A Saudi committee made up of representatives from the interior, justice and health departments is considering the change after complaints about “shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents.” I imagine that the subjects of these events are more than willing to have the swordsmen take their time in arriving if they have other pressing business.

Rather than ban the practice as fundamentally barbaric, “the aim is to avoid interruption of the regularly-taken security arrangements.” There were 68 beheadings in 2012.

Human Rights Watch said Saudi Arabia beheaded 69 people in 2012.

Instead, the Kingdom would turn to firing squads to mete out Sharia justice. Despite the fact that firing squads are viewed as inherently imprecise and cruel, no one appears to have considered lethal injection. Presumably, these would still remain public events in the Kingdom and having a guy tied to a gurney does not quite capture the moment for the Kingdom.

Source: TIME

20 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia Considers Halt On Beheadings . . . Due To Shortage of Swordsmen

  1. I’m not understanding this. According to the article there were 69 executions but there’s a shortage of swordsmen. Do you even need more than 1 to handle 69 executions? If one is not enough, how difficult would it be to train more if they really wanted to keep this form of execution? As Mike suggests, if you really can’t find enough trained swordsmen and want a quick, efficient beheading, then the French solved this problem over 200 years ago. My gut says there’s got to be more to this story than meets the eye. Perhaps those in charge think they’re getting bad PR from beheadings, and firing squad wouldn’t would be less bad publicity?

  2. California has over 900 murders on death row no executions for decades average yearly cost per convict $35000.00 a year. If it was put to a vote and if you voted aganist the death penalty your side would pay the cost of keeping the murderer locked up the place would be vacant tomorrow.

  3. The guy that killed two firemen and set a neighborhood on fire was a convicted killer, beheading would have saved the firemens lives and prevented the arson.

  4. Saudi Arabia Considers Halt On Beheadings . . . Due To Shortage of Swordsmen
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    sounds like a chance for someone to get ahead

    this wouldn’t happen in a capitalist free market.

    where’s monica lewinsky when you need her?

  5. pete,

    I don’t think that is the kind of head work they are talking about, but the Saudis could certainly afford the dry cleaning Bill, er, charges. :mrgreen:

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