In Saudi Arabia, public beheadings are routinely carried out. And as 2011 comes to a close, Saudi Arabia has executed 71 people (up from 27 in 2010). Anyone can view a beheading and Westerners that venture there are often made to sit in the first row, for further humiliation for the accused.

According to Wikipedia, the death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences, including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, homosexuality, prostitution, aspostasy, adultery, and sorcery.

The 345 executions carried out from 2007 to 2010 were all public beheadings. Crucifixion (public display of the beheaded body) is sometimes ordered, for a period such as three days.

In 2011, two people were executed for ‘sorcery’. Though the crime itself is not defined in Saudi law, it is punishable by death. This includes a Saudi woman beheaded in December 2011 on the ill-defined crime of witchcraft.

The death penalty is not only meted out to Saudi citizens. Amnesty International reports:

Five of those executed this year are foreign nationals, Amnesty said, including one Sudanese national for sorcery. In 2010 at least 27 were executed including six foreign nationals, down from 2009 when 69 including 19 foreign nationals were executed.


Some 102 people including almost 40 foreign nationals were executed in 2008 while in 2007 at least 158 people, including 76 foreign nationals were executed, Amnesty said.

Reuters: Saudi Arabia Must Stop Use of Death Penalty, Amesty International (June 10, 2011)

Telegraph: Saudi Arabia execution of sorcery woman condemned (Dec 13, 2011)

About the Author joangregerson

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