At 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.