Al Arabiya TV reports that Saudi Arabia’s government is considering doing away with beheading as the preferred form of execution. It would be replaced by a firing squad. Firing squads, as an authorized form of execution, are found in 73 countries, including most of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors. Three American states still provide for firing squads, though lethal injection has become the nationally preferred method.
While Saudi Arabia is working to improve its PR, it could also look to abolishing stoning and crucifixion, pre- or post-mortem. Of course, it could try to abolish capital punishment, but that’s going to be harder to accomplish as certain crimes are religiously defined as hudud crimes, with fixed penalty.
Saudi Arabia is looking into the possibility of implementing executions by shooting and not decapitation, Saudi daily “Al-Yawm” reported on Sunday.
The daily quoted sources as saying the suggestion was being studied by a commission formed from members of the ministries of interior and health, the prosecution office, general security office and the general directorate of prisons.
It added that the interior ministry authorized governors to implement executions by shooting until the “appropriate means” to carry out the punishment is finalized.
An announcement issued by the bureau of investigation and the prosecution said the means to implement the execution is up for the governor to decide when the means is not specified in the capital punishment verdict and that implementing execution by shooting is acceptable as long as it is not considered a legal violation.
If shooting is approved as a method to implement capital punishment, it would not be a first. A woman in the Saudi city of Ha’il was executed by being shot several years ago after she was found guilty of murdering her husband.