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

(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.

A Saudi prince leads a traditional sword dance.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
16%
5%
15%
4%
10%
50%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!