Mar 11 2013
HELP WANTED: Saudi Arabia may have to end public beheadings due to a shortage of beheaders.
UK Daily Mail Saudi Arabia is considering dropping public beheadings as a method of execution because of a shortage of government swordsmen in the oil-rich kingdom. A joint Saudi committee composed of representatives of the ministries of interior, justice and health has instead proposed firing squads for capital sentences.
The committee argued that the measure, if adopted, would not violate Islamic law, allowing heads – or emirs – of the country’s 13 local administrative regions to begin using the new method when needed. The ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom beheaded 76 people in 2012, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
The UN’s main human rights body has repeatedly expressed ‘deep dismay’ at the Saudi punishment of beheading. Riyadh, however, rejected the statements as ‘external interference’ in its domestic affairs. The spokesman said: Saudi Arabia ‘respects all rules and laws and protects the rights of its people, and completely rejects any intervention in its affairs and judicial verdicts, whatever the excuse.’