Saudi Arabia May Stop Public Beheadings Because of Swordsmen Shortage

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Public beheadings in Saudi Arabia might be stopped due to a shortage of government swordsmen. The oil-rich kingdom has proposed that firing squads should be used instead.

A joint Saudi committee composed of representatives of the ministries of interior said in a statement: “This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents; the aim is to avoid interruption of the regularly-taken security arrangements.”

Saudi Arabia beheaded 76 people in 2012, according to figures that were released. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) put the number at 69, reports The Daily Mail. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic law. Three people have already been put to death this year. The practice of public beheadings has always been a controversial issue with the international community, but it became a particularly hot topic after a Sri Lankan maid, Rizana Nafeek, was killed last month.

Nafeek received her death sentence after her Saudi employer accused her of strangling his four-month-old baby after an argument with the child’s mom. A government spokesman said Saudi Arabia “deplores the statements made... about the execution of a Sri Lankan maid who had plotted and killed an infant by suffocating him to death one week after she arrived in the kingdom.” The United Nations expressed “deep dismay” at the beheading.

Saudi Arabia was not particularly interested in listening to what the UN had to say. The country’s spokesman said: “[Saudi Arabia] respects... all rules and laws and protects the rights of its people and residents, and completely rejects any intervention in its affairs and judicial verdicts, whatever the excuse.”

Source: (The Daily Mail)