Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia and people
sentenced to death are executed with a sword in accordance with Islamic law. However,
fewer people are interested in a "career" in executing others, a task
that requires a lot of cold blood and a lot of training in how to swing
properly the sword. In
fact, a memo from the Saudi Justice Ministry is bemoaning a labour shortage in
people trained to use the blade.
Within the kingdom, courts are forced to compete for executioners, who must
travel around the country to carry out sentences. This is slowing down the
justice system. To speed matters up, the Justice Ministry has issued an order
allowing courts to shoot prisoners on the grounds that this method is not
the lack of trained executioners has not slowed down executions in Saudi
the beginning 2013, at least 40 people have been put to death. The
last case occurred on 14 May in Najran, in the country's south-west. The
executed felon, Maneh al-Daen, had been convicted of stabbing to death a fellow
tribesman. Last year, the kingdom executed 76 people.
years, the main human rights groups and many Western governments have tried to
get the Saudi kingdom to implement fairer trials and less cruel executions. However, Saudi
Arabia is the only country in the world where the death sentence by beheading can
be carried out in a public place.
death penalty is applied in cases of murder, armed robbery, rape and drug
trafficking, as well as witchcraft and sodomy.
cruel are sentences for minor offences s such as theft and crimes of opinion,
which in addition to jail time, may include public flogging or the chopping off
of hands or feet.
a case involving two men, a Lebanese and a Saudi, sentenced to six years in
prison and 300 lashes for pushing a young woman to convert to Christianity, generated
a lot of discussion in the country. They were convicted despite the fact that
the young woman, who is a refugee in Sweden, defended the two, saying in a
video that she had converted without compulsion.