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Beheading or shooting: Saudi Arabia needs more executioners


n Saudi Arabia - the country that lives under Sharia law - death penalty is carried out by beheading or crucifixion. Saudi authorities have faced the shortage of executioners and consider an opportunity to replace traditional methods of execution with execution by shooting. This does not improve anything for those residing in the poor south of the country. They can not pay the ransom that replaces death penalty. Those people have to deal with much tougher punishments than the Muslims of Mecca and Medina.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia practices public executions for such crimes as rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, witchcraft, drug trafficking and drug consumption. The main department of the country that ensures the compliance with Islamic Sharia laws, which is called the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice does not to consider it necessary for a suspect to have a lawyer. The committee turns a blind eye to the fact that many suspects testify under tortures. One of the people, who was supposed to be crucified on Tuesday, March 12th, used a cell phone from a prison in Abha Province to cry for help.


Nasser Al-Qahtani told The Associated Press that he was arrested for stealing a ring from a jewelry store in 2004. The man said that he was tortured and was not provided with a lawyer.  "I did not kill anyone. I did not have a weapon while robbing the store, but the police tortured, beat me and threatened to attack my mother. They did all that to make me say that I had a gun, but I didn't have it, I was 15 years old at that time," said Qahtani.

In 2009, a Sharia court sentenced him and seven other people, allegedly members of the criminal group that was robbing jewelry stores, to death.

Three men of this group were sentenced to death by shooting, according to Saudi newspaper Okaz. This "new" form of Sharia punishment may soon displace beheading, crucifixion, quartering, stoning or burying a person alive. The authorities recognized that traditional executions were quite expensive "events" as they are performed in public and require high security costs. In addition, there is a serious shortage of skilled butchers. One of them - the "leading" Saudi executioner Muhammad Saad Beshi, said in an interview with the Saudi newspaper Arab News in 2003, that he was decapitating more than ten people a day. He always keeps his sword sharp and even lets his children clean it. "It surprises people how quickly I can separate the head from the body," the newspaper quoted Beshi.