Saudi Arabia is facing a shortage in a gruesome job category. As of May 19, the Oil Kingdom has executed 87 individuals: a rate that exceeds the total of 85 for the whole of 2014. Sharia law criminalizes such things as adultery and repeated theft. On May 19, the civil service ministry of Saudi Arabia advertised a need for swordsmen to carry out beheadings. No qualifications are necessary and applicants are exempt from civil service entrance exams. The vacancies were noted on the ministry website under the heading of “religious jobs.”
 
 
Besides beheadings, successful candidates must also carry out amputations as ordered by the Oil Kingdom’s courts. In some cases, thieves are punished by having one of their hands severed by a swordsman. Recividism is punished by death. Also, Saudi Arabia is about to behead a dissident Muslim cleric and publicly display his corpse.  Apostasy from Islam, armed robbery, drug trafficking, murder, and  rape are all punishable by beheading. However, some executions are carried out by firing squads, crucifixion, or stoning.
 
This year in January, a video revealed a Burmese woman pleading for her life just before being beheaded in broad daylight on a public thoroughfare in Mecca, where millions of Muslims come on pilgrimage. Ignoring her pleas, the swordsman forced the woman to lie down on the near a pedestrian crossing and severed her head from her body. According to official sources, the victim - Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim -  was executing for murdering her step-daughter.
 
 
Human rights group Amnesty International has described the increased rate of executions in Saudi Arabia as a "macabre spike." On May 19, a convicted serial rapist of young girls was beheaded in Riyadh.
 
Earlier in May, French President Francois Hollande said capital punishment "should be banned" even while Saudi Arabia, like the United States, contends it is a deterrent.  

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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