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Help Wanted: Saudi Arabia is running out of Executioners

May 2, 2019

Saudi Arabia is preparing to decapitate so many people in 2019 that the kingdom is looking to hire eight more executioners, who will be tasked with publicly lopping off convict’s heads with a giant, curved sword, according to the Sun.

Human rights groups are still outraged about the execution of 37 people in a single day last week, some of whom were murdered in extremely brutal ways (the head of one victim was impaled on a spike, while another’s headless body was crucified). One of the men who was executed, a member of the Shiite minority, was just 16 when he was arrested. He was killed on charges of ‘terrorism’ over messages he sent about a peaceful anti-government demonstration.

The Kingdom is on track to set a new record this year, as more than 170 people are set to be put to death in 2019, up from 150 last year. The country has carried out some 600 executions since 2014. Already, the kingdom has executed about 100 people this year.

According to a job posting on Saudi’s civil service website, executioners will be tasked with carrying out the beheadings, but they must also be prepared to cut off extremities like hands, a common punishment for more minor offenses.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world: suspects can be put to death after being convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Executioners use a sword known as a sulthan to remove the condemned man’s head from his neck. Public executions typically take place around 9 am, after the convict is led into a public square. Crowds often cheer as the man is killed.

To be sure, not all of the people executed on terrorism charges were convicted of minor offenses; the man who had his head impaled on a spike was said to be a jihadist whom the kingdom made an example. Though 11 of the men had been convicted of spying for Iran during trials that amnesty groups described as ‘grossly unfair.’ Another 14 were killed over their participation in anti government demonstrations in Shiite areas.

Last week’s killings were carried out in Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, central Qassim province and Eastern Province, home to the country’s Shiite minority, according to the government.

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From → World Watch

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