Saudi Problem: Not Enough Swordsmen for Executions
Firing squads now an acceptable alternative
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2013 2:07 AM CDT
Updated Mar 11, 2013 3:44 AM CDT
A Saudi prince leads a traditional sword dance.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The only country in the world that still beheads criminals is facing a shortage of swordsmen, leading Saudi Arabian authorities to rule that using a firing squad is an acceptable alternative to publicly lopping the heads of those convicted of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, and apostasy, the New York Times reports.

The few swordsmen officially authorized to behead criminals were so busy traveling between executions that they tended to arrive late, "which causes security confusion," a government report stated. The kingdom executed around 75 people last year and has executed 15 so far this year, including a Sri Lankan maid who was 17 years old when her employer accused her of killing his baby daughter.

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Mar 13, 2013 3:19 AM CDT
Not an exclusively Wahhabi problem. Despite her imagined heinous crimes and heresies, Anne Boleyn's brief royal status afforded her the genuine luxury of beheading instead of burning her alive. The liberationl of her head was delayed for days when her expert French swordsman's horse blew a hoof on the way to London, a journey made at the behest of her husband, king and murderer by proxy,Henry VIII.
Mar 11, 2013 9:32 PM CDT
Mar 11, 2013 7:08 PM CDT
In California we have a very different problem. The citizens of California keep voting to keep the Death Penalty! Instead of justice, a True Murderer is put in prison for 20 years...automatic Appeal again and again. There has not been an execution in California since 2006, and we have the highest amount on Death Row of any State. Obviously, Saudi Arabia's rules are too strict on the death penalty, but California is not carrying out the sentence of the Court. I would like California to carry out justice and execute more on Death Row. It is better than paying 40K per year and millions in Court costs.