Executions in 2018: min. 690 plus 'thousands' in China

The death penalty in Saudi-Arabia

Only China executed worldwide more people in 2015: According to the numbers published by Amnesty International a minimum of 977 executions were carried out only within the year 2015. 

Saudi Arabia, the country of origin and heartland of Islam, is an absolute monarchy located on the Arabian Peninsula.Their administration of justice is based on an especially literal take on Sharia, the Islamic legal understanding and judicial system. In addition, there is no established Criminal Code, and no obliging criminal trial order.

Preliminary proceedings do not take place in public and the judges have great latitude. Torture is still practiced and often defendants cannot get a lawyer.

In Saudi Arabia Capital Punishment is used for the following crimes: Murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, adultery, drug abuse, betrayal, blasphemy and witchcraft.

In 1987 Capital Punishment was also expanded to the import of drugs, and in 1988 sabotage and corruption were added.

The victim's family can choose to grant mercy to the prisoner but these acts of mercy are rare. If the victim's family decides to grant mercy, they receive 'blood money' from the prisoners family and the prisoner is spared the execution and goes free.

In the past, execution methods in Saudi Arabia were beheading, the firing squad and stoning. The firing squad and stoning have not been used since the middle 1980's.  

Public beheading by a sword is the most common form of execution. The prisoner is bound and blindfolded. Then the executioner forces the prisoner to a kneeling position and strikes at the same time with the sword.

The occupation of executioner is a very respectable in Saudi Arabia. They are proud to carry out their executions with only one slash of the sword.  It would be a personal disgrace to have to make a second slash to separate the head from the body.

Possibly half of those executed are foreign workers from neighboring countries.  


Sources and further information: Hands off Cain; Amnesty International: "Death Sentences and Executions 2015", report published in April 2016. 

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