Saudi Arabia May End Execution by Beheading as It Runs Short of Swordsmen

Alex Spillius, Telegraph (London), March 11, 2013

An official in the ultra-conservative kingdom said that sword-bearing executioners “are not readily available everywhere and on some occasions, executions were marred by confusion as the executioner was late in showing up at the designated public place”.

The unnamed bureaucrat told the daily Al Youm that in the age of easy digital communication, executioners’ lateness was “causing confusion and sparking speculation and rumours through modern technology”, a remark that perhaps hinted at public opposition.

A special inter-ministerial committee was examining the possible change to a method that has been used for centuries and which Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia claim is based on the Koran.

No specific reason was given for the shortage of executioners, but firing squads have occasionally been used in the past, and the committee has reportedly found that it “does not constitute a religious violation”.

Regional governors have already been given the discretion to resort to the firing squad, the paper said, if sharia courts fail to specify beheading.

But the committee appears to have rejected calls from reformists within the kingdom to use US-style lethal injections in prisons.

The Saudi government has yet to comment on the reports.

The only place in the world that still decapitates criminals, the kingdom is among a handful of countries that stages public executions. In rare cases beheaded corpses are placed on a crucifix for three days as an extra deterrent.

Executioners use a traditional scimitar that is three and a half to four feet in length. The condemned man or woman is blindfolded, dressed in white and made to kneel in the direction of Mecca.

In a rare interview in 2003, Mohammed Saad al-Beshi, an executioner, said that decapitation required a single swing of his blade.

“I look after it and sharpen it once in a while, and I make sure to clean it of bloodstains. It’s very sharp. People are amazed how fast it can separate the head from the body,” he told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers faced vociferous international condemnation in 2011 for beheading Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan maid who allegedly choked to death a baby in her care.

Only 17 at the time, human rights groups said she was denied proper legal representation. Condemned women in Saudi Arabia were killed by firing squad until the 1990s, when the authorities insisted they should be beheaded too.

In recent times, Saudi Arabia has executed 70 to 80 people annually, and is among the top five countries to enforce the death penalty, along with China, Iran, North Korea and the United States.

It has the widest number of crimes punishable by death, including murder, rape, sodomy, robbery, theft (after four offences), false prophecy and witchcraft.

The high level deliberations in Riyadh came too late for Khaled bin Hamad, who was beheaded yesterday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency, for stabbing to death another man during a row. He became the 18th person to the executed in the country this year.

Under King Abdullah, modest reforms have been introduced. Women have been allowed to vote in future municipal elections, the only public polls held in the kingdom, while in 2009 the first co-educational further education institute opened despite strong clerical opposition.

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  • MekongDelta69

    They probably all emigrated to Dearborn (Michigan)…

  • dd121

    A rational solution to a purely technical problem. P.S. How do they know it’s “false prophesy” until it’s had a chance to come true?

    • The__Bobster

      Like witches proving that they weren’t by drowning?

    • brengunn

      I imagine Christianity is false prophesy over there.

      • CoweringCoward

        Christianity pre-dates Mohammedanism by quit a few moons as I recall.

        • brengunn

          I don’t think that matters. It’s not Islam, therefore, it’s forbidden.

          • TeutonicKnight67

            You are correct. Christianity is expressly forbidden in the Sandbox Kingdom. Our troops have the privilege of being stationed there but not allowed to possess a Holy Bible or wear a cross. What great allies those pajama-wearing frauds are, eh?

  • The__Bobster

    I hear the French invented a machine that does the job more elegantly …. and takes little training.

    • CoweringCoward

      Perhaps the 1st point and click “interface” as well.

      BTW back with my Swedish super sexy X, and trying like hell to get the Thai B off the mortgage (without harming my cute ass son).

    • BAW

      I second that…it’s also swift and painless, unlike the electric chair, gas chamber, or lethal injection…plus death is 100% certain. That’s one thing the French got right!

      • Scabrous Little Pig


Not that infallible – botched guillotinings were by no means unknown (one assistant executioner had to finish off the condemned with a butcher’s knife). 

        Actually, a pretty revolting way to die, especially if you were not the first of several to be guillotined, and you had to observe the already decapitated body (or bodies) lying in the zinc-lined basket alongside the bascule (the tilting plank upon which the condemned person was fed into the jaws of the machine).

        This is probably why Roger Bontems was granted the “kindness” (as by far the less culpable of the two Clermont Mutineers – he was actually found innocent
        of murder!) of being guillotined before Claude Buffet in Paris in November 1972
        (yes, you read that date right).

  • Gruesome? Vicious? How come the UN doesn’t crack down since they seem to meddle in the politics of Europe and the United States so much …..

    In recent times, Saudi Arabia has executed 70 to 80 people annually, and is among the top five countries to enforce the death penalty, along with China, Iran, North Korea and the United States.


    The way I see it, there should 976 pending executions in Chicago alone. So this doesn’t even compare to Saudi Arabia where the citizens seem to know justice will be swift and lethal for wider array of crimes than just Murder-1.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    I would be willing to do this for a living, provided I was allowed to use my claymore or falchion and provided the punishment was only for murder.

    • PesachPatriot

      why do i have a feeling you would be executioner of the month several times a year if they hire you? the chopping over there is for a lot of stuff other than murder….perjury in sharia court gets the tongue cut out, theft calls for the removal of a hand, rape for the removal of you know what and i think you would also have to flog people for drinking alcohol and supervise the stoning of adulterous or improperly veiled women….

      • IstvanIN

        Don’t forget the poor women who get stoned to death for being rape victims. Nice bunch.

        • PesachPatriot

          The main problem in saudi arabia is that the discovery of oil in the early 20th century pushed a sleepy backwards desert kingdom into a linchpin of the global economy….riyadh was pretty much mud huts until the early 1960’s, slavery was legal until the 1960’s as well and prior to oil the kingdom’s main source of income was muslim pilgrims going to mecca. They have undergone almost 800 years of social change in about 50 years…they have modern american conveniences like Mcdonalds, KFC, domino’s pizza, ford and chevy automobiles, but a medieval legal system. Lately some women have started rebelling by driving without a male guardian in the car….its all a crock anyway…the royal family goes to europe and the us frequently to indulge in booze, whores, gambling and shopping….thats why most of their citizens despise them…they are basically the last absolute monarchs on the planet.

  • I actually support this type of punishment. They should make prisoners watch.
    I also support public disembowelment, burning alive, drowning, castration.

    • All violent rapists should be castrated. I would support it for child molesters but there have been too many allegations in divorce proceeding and then there is the McMartin Preschool.

      • CoweringCoward

        I was told by a legal doctor that if you were ever to help a “victim” of a child molestation charge, to just advise then to plead guilty, as no protections exist in their case. The constitution be damned.

    • a multiracial individual

      I would not expect a civilized stance from someone who has a hijacking criminal as their moniker.

      • CoweringCoward

        Think you missed his point, BY A FREAKIN MILE!

        • IstvanIN

          What was the point, that we should be as backward as the Muslims?

          • CoweringCoward

            No one suggested that. I am not familiar with DB’s punishment prefs just that one post.

        • a multiracial individual

          He (D.B Cooper) supports violent (and sadistic) judicial punishment just like is practiced in some Muslim nations (and during medieval Europe). Hopefully, Mr. Cooper does not support such punishment for “crimes” like adultery, witchcraft, apostasy, etc. What did I miss?

          • CoweringCoward

            DB had not said any of this in this one post. I am only defending this one (if other more extreme ones have been displayed).

          • IstvanIN

            I would hate to let my parking meter expire around him.

    • CoweringCoward

      Dangit, I should not DRINK and post, all my responses were in reply to RJP and NOT DB! I am going quiet now (for the good of all).

    • jane johnson

      Just as long as the punishment is appropriate to the crime, I agree.

    • Extropico

      That 8th Amendment thingy is just pleonastic poppycock and pedantry.

    • Scabrous Little Pig

      I think you need some kind of psychiatric help, and I’m not joking.

  • NorthernWind

    Well, I personally support public execution by hanging for homicide, violent rape, and other serious crimes however the witchcraft and false prophecy stuff is silly. But perhaps that is better than many European nations which do not have the death penalty at all and don’t give serious sentences. I don’t know.

    • CoweringCoward

      I am in total agreement, when guilt is certain (the only way it SHOULD ever BE), “Do unto YOU what you have done unto others (+some if particularly egregious)”

      • IstvanIN

        Guilt can only be certain when prosecutors care more about justice than convictions. Remember, it is convictions that make their careers, not justice.

        • CoweringCoward

          That was my point. Justice is NOTHING these days. Look at Fed conviction rates, something like 98% if I recall. Total BS.

    • Tom Iron

      Actually, I’ve always favored burial alive.

      • CoweringCoward

        With supplied oxygen, as a little box would go over on the Co2 and end the fun WAY TOO SOON. Perhaps an in-coffin webcam would add to the public enjoyment.

  • From what I read, they do not have enough swordsmen to go around and they show up late. I have also read that they do use hanging for other offenses. I read of a Filipino man who was accused of running Bible studies in his home. He was threatened with hanging but was allowed to leave the country.

    • CoweringCoward

      Your point having been made, the absolute INSANITY of allowing anymore immigrants in from the sandbox stands bare!

    • jane johnson

      They should consider importing subsaharan Africans. How much difference is there between a sword and a machete anyway? They would still show up late, but would be perfect for the job.

      • PesachPatriot

        In the old days many arab rulers employed african slaves for just this purpose….the ottoman sultans had a rather large one in jerusalem right up until the british mandate began….most noble or important criminals were beheaded by arab swordsmen because the africans had a reputation for not always getting the head off clean on the first chop.

        • jane johnson

          Use A.A. strategy and spot them a stroke….problem solved! Seriously, I had no idea about the african executioners; something about it just sounds so right. Thanks for the info.

          • PesachPatriot

            There was a book written in the 1840’s or 1850’s I think, by some british guy….maybe sir richard burton(i’m not 100% sure) about being the first white english speaking christian to witness friday prayers on the temple mount…he and a friend dressed up as arabs and snuck in, but someone noticed them make a slight mistake in arabic and revealed their identity….they barely escaped from the enraged mob with their lives and the british ambassador had them smuggled out of the country the next day in carpets….You should also check out David Roberts….he was a scottish painter in the 1830-1840’s who was commissioned by the royal family to travel through egypt, syria and the holy land to paint the holy places and historical landmarks.

            The executions in jerusalem in the old days(Pre-1920 british mandate) usually took place on fridays after mid day prayers between al-aqsa and the dome of the rock and were always very well attended events with people coming from as far north as southern lebanon, syria, acre and the galilee….men stood on one side and women on the other and usually the crowds were between 10 to 20 thousand people and in the course of the afternoon between 60-150 people would lose hands and heads to thunderous applause and cheering…..I kind of have a thing for the most disturbing parts of history…People in europe and canada might think texas or georgia justice is rough and barbaric, but no state in the US can hold a candle to the cruelties of sharia law in places like the afghan/pakistan border, yemen, and iran.

  • a multiracial individual

    This swordsman appears to be a nice family man. lol. Multiculturalists are insane.

    • That whole culture is messed up. Yes, we execute criminals as well but only after an exhaustive process, and we certainly don’t cut off hands and legs for stealing. Yes, I realize engaging in moral relativism is a slipperly slope.
      Out of all the people in the video, the executioner, ironcially he seems to be the normal one. The TV announcers were asking him about his “career highlights” like one might ask Mark Messier to recount some of his favorite goals that he scored.

      • Tom Iron

        There are interesting points, trade jokes etc, in anything. I don’t see anything wrong with it. That’s his job. He’s got his tools and seems to know how to use it. So, what’s the beef?

        • a multiracial individual

          You see nothing wrong with decapitation?

  • IKantunderstand

    People in this country want to condemn heirs of fortunes, because they did nothing to incur that fortune. Well, I got a problem with the Saudis who did not do anything ever! White people went and drilled for oil. White people built the oil wells. White people created the technology to produce the oil, and, of course, Whites created the demand for oil. The Saudis exist, because of White people. I propose that we invade Saudi Arabia. Hell, the Arabs in the mideast, and the protesters at home, are always accusing us of doing something to get the oil. So, since we are always accused of it, let’s do it! Oh, and that beheading thing? We could get the Mexicans to do it.

    • Let’s let the Saudis run over their northern neighbor, our true enemies, first.

      • IKantunderstand

        Would that be Iraq? Syria? Or Iran? As far as I’m concerned, all the Arab states are enemies. All Muslims are enemies. Period. They don’t believe in or stand for anything I hold dear. They need to go. I actually despise them more than anybody. They have an actual religion, which calls for the death of so-called non-believers. Their religion tells them to lie, to advance their goal. Their goal, is to establish the next Caliphate. Do you seriously think that the Saudis are enemies with any fellow Muslim state? I don’t care if they are Sunni or whatever the hell the other one is. They are still Muslims, and thus, anti us. We need to take over all the oilfields in the Mideast. Screw them. Seriously. What are they going to do? All bets are off. I don’t care about anybody in the Mideast. They sure as hell don’t care about us. It’s about time our taxpayer dollars were put to good use for a change. Take over the Saudi oil fields.

  • bigone4u

    Beheading as the punishment for sodomy? I guess the gay marriage crowd is pretty thinly populated in Saudi Arabia.

  • The Last White Man Standing

    Maybe Saudi Arabia can import some mexicans. I hear they are hard working, and are pretty good with machetes. They can do the job that arabs just won’t do.

  • Scabrous Little Pig

    These people are savages. Any white nationalist who thinks that any aspect of their behaviour, customs or practices is worthy of imitation has no right to call himself/herself civilised.

    By the way – Newsflash! Europe doesn’t have the death penalty. And, guess what? It has a much lower homicide rate than the good ol’ USA (although mass immigration is obviously driving the numbers up).

    I’d like to see how some of the people here calling for elaborately sadistic forms of capital punishment would react if they or members of their family should come to be at the receiving end.

    • HamletsGhost

      Correlation does not imply causation.

      • Scabrous Little Pig

        Meaning what in this context, precisely, Mr Statistician?

        • HamletsGhost

          Meaning just what it says. Europe’s lower crime rate is due to its lower population of coloreds, among other things. If England had as many blacks as the US does, its crime rate would be even higher than it is, and capital punishment would look a lot better in the eyes of many people.

          That’s not statistics, it’s logic.

          • Scabrous Little Pig

            If you imagine for one minute that in present-day England the proportion of non-whites to whites is significantly lower than in the United States, you’re seriously mistaken (and we have the additional problem of vast numbers of Muslims, mainly from rural Pakistan and Bangladesh). In other parts of Europe this situation is replicated (with only the source of the third-world immigrants varying – the Maghreb as a source of Muslims, etc.).

            Capital punishment is (rightly) viewed with suspicion and hostility by thoughtful people in Europe because it’s (again, rightly) associated with repressive political regimes (e.g. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin) and an over-mighty state. It doesn’t have a uniquely deterrent effect either, as several criminological surveys (rejecting the junk research of the econometrists) confirm.

          • Halmet’s Ghost wasn’t referring to all non-whites – He was referring to the black population.

            Those studies you tout that supposedly show that capital punishment doesn’t have a deterrent effect have methodology problems. The most common canard that American anti-CP activists use is that “states that have capital punishment have higher murder rates than states that don’t.” Well, it’s obvious to see one big problem with that logic — States that don’t have CP are states with very few blacks, states that have it are states with a lot of blacks, ergo the states that have it will have higher murder rates precisely because they have a lot of blacks. But the more subtle error is that just because a state has CP on the books doesn’t mean they actually use it.

            Studies which balance these factors out show that in recent American history, depending on the study, an actual CP actually carried out deters anywhere between seven and 22 murders.

            You said:

            I’d like to see how some of the people here calling for elaborately sadistic forms of capital punishment would react if they or members of their family should come to be at the receiving end.

            For one, I wouldn’t murder anyone. For two, anyone I’m closely related to is extremely unlikely to murder anyone. But if you’re playing hypothetical games, how would you like to be a prison guard in a prison with lifer inmates in a state with no death penalty? They could kill you and they would have nothing to lose, because they’re already lifers. How would you like to be a known witness for the prosecution in a hot button criminal case? Capital punishment is crucially important to deter the murder of prosecution witnesses. Then there’s another factor — Not every American murder results in an execution, even in states which have and actually carry out CP. Often, the threat of execution is enough to pry a guilty plea from those charged with first degree murder in exchange for the prosecution dropping the death penalty. If you don’t have the death penalty, the prosecution doesn’t have this leverage.

          • Scabrous Little Pig

            I never said that capital punishment doesn’t have a deterrent effect; I said that it has been shown not to have a uniquely deterrent effect.

            You state (without supporting evidence or argument) that the studies I “tout” have “methodology problems”, without identifying the studies themselves or their alleged methodological flaws. (You then make an irrelevant, and factually inaccurate, digression concerning states with and without capital punishment.)

            As far as the undeniable murder epidemic among American blacks is concerned, this is a specific example of a wider phenomenon, viz. that sociocultural (and, arguably, socioeconomic) factors affect murder rates in particular and crime rates in general within certain reasonably well-defined groups. These sociocultural (-economic) factors make a nonsense of capital punishment as some kind of penal panacea.

            Well, here is a short study by Jeffrey Fagan:


            Perhaps you might care to address its methodological flaws for our general enlightenment.

            As for your last paragraph, you’re making a number of assumptions – mainly that a) lifers will always be uncontrollable homicidal maniacs who will kill on any pretext, and b) that these same maniacs will suddenly become rational and calculating when presented with the possibility of facing judical execution.

          • HamletsGhost

            “As far as the undeniable murder epidemic among American blacks is concerned, this is a specific example of a wider phenomenon, viz. that sociocultural (and, arguably, socioeconomic) factors affect murder rates in particular and crime rates in general within certain reasonably well-defined groups.”

            Spoken like a true liberal.

            The real reason blacks commit murder is a deficit of intelligence coupled with a surfeit of testosterone. There’s nothing sociocultural about those things. It’s just biology.

            Occam’s razor strikes again.

          • Scabrous Little Pig

            I’m certainly not a liberal in the American sense of the word. I’d get arrested if I were to utter most of my opinions in public, either over there or in the UK (where the PC zealotry is, if anything, even worse, with no First Amendment to protect even the pretence of free speech.

            Blacks in the mass (there are important individual exceptions) are an undeniable menace to the smooth functioning of a reasonably advanced society, but I think that you’re going to have to do a little better than to put it simply down to alleged innate differences (such as relatively small brains or big *@!$s). For example, you could put it down to the fact that the corporate right downsized their jobs out of existence, while the PC left pandered to their vices and indulged their antisocial inclinations as legitimate cultural expressions. It isn’t “liberalism” to want to dig a little deeper in finding the motivations and determining factors behind the behaviour of a large and troublesome group within the wider population.

            You’ve not wielded Occam’s Razor; you’ve just short-circuited the debate.

          • For example, you could put it down to the fact that the corporate right downsized their jobs out of existence

            Except when they had those jobs, they sucked at them. The “corporate right,” (whatever that means), when they pulled out of inner cities, didn’t pull out of inner cities because they wanted to outsource to China, they pulled out because of the “quality” (or lack thereof) of their black employees. As an example, the GM auto assembly plant that once existed in St. Louis City, in fact, the part of town which became ghetto first, did indeed close. And it was the GM plant that assembled Corvettes. However, GM didn’t move Corvette assembly to China or Mexico, they moved it to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where it still is to this day.

          • Scabrous Little Pig

            If what you are saying is true, QD, then it is very important indeed (even if Corvettes don’t strike me as being staple products of the American auto industry). On your analysis, corporate America has only outsourced jobs to other parts of the USA – not to China or the third world – and it has done so because blacks “sucked at” them (not in itself altogether implausible, I’ll grant you). I’d be interested to know whether the facts bear all of this interesting scenario out.

            However, I still wonder what the motivation of corporations could have been in Western Europe regarding the outsourcing of the jobs (not to other parts of Western Europe, but to Eastern Europe, China and the third world) formerly done by the indigenous white industrial proletariat, together with the concurrent, wholesale importation of a new, non-indigenous, non-white, post-industrial “welfariat” (to coin a phrase); maybe they “sucked at” their jobs, too?

            In the latter case, though, I strongly suspect that they simply asked for more money and better working conditions than the corporations were prepared to give them.

  • Firing squads are good. So are public hangings. I refuse to accept any society that does not implement the death penalty for rapists, worst murderers.

    • Scabrous Little Pig

      Some reasons for your opinions would be helpful, Jack.

  • Djangotamer

    This behavior (and the actions that led to it) is reprehensible-no matter how you slice it. 🙂 However, we whites must continue to hold ourselves to a standard unattainable by the savages of any other country/religion (including our own), no matter what we do. We cannot accept this level of barbarity.