Saudi Arabia has advertised for eight executioners to deal with a soaring number of capital punishment charges. The advert, which appeared on a civil service jobs portal yesterday, listed the job as “executing a judgment of death”.
The successful applicants will also be expected to carry out more minor punishments such as foot and hand amputations for those convicted of crimes such as theft, as well as beheadings for crimes which carry the death sentence as stipulated by sharia law, the Times has reported.
A downloadable application form classed the executioners as “religious functionaries”, and said they would be at the lower end of the civil service pay scale. No particular qualifications are being sought.
According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia is well on track to exceed last year’s 90 executions, having put to death 84 people already this year. The latest was a Pakistani man executed the day before the advert was posted for smuggling heroin into the country. Last year, 38 people were executed for drug smuggling, although the majority received the punishment due to murder convictions.
Saudi officials have not stated reasons for why executions are on the increase, but diplomats have revealed that the country is dealing with a backlog of appeal cases following a number of judicial appointments. Others have speculated that the increasingly draconian nature of the punishments is down to authorities wanting to put on a show of strength thanks to conflicts in the region.
Amnesty International placed the country third on the list of top executioners last year, behind China and Iran, but ahead of Iraq and the United States. Saudi Arabia still beheads its victims in public squares using swords, drawing awkward comparisons with ISIS.