On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Civil Service listed on its website eight new job openings for the position of executioner. The job responsibilities will likely include beheadings and amputations–two of the most prominent punishments for violations, including drug smuggling, arms dealing, murder, and rape.
According to The New York Times, pay was not listed, and there are few prerequisites for the job, which might be a laborious task when considering the Saudi Kingdom has already committed 85 executions this year; that number is just three shy of the 88 individuals who were beheaded in 2014 alone. Their only requirement for the role of headsmen? “Carrying out the death sentence according to Islamic Shariah after it is ordered by a legal ruling.”
The Times notes that in Qassim Province, a swordsman could fetch more than $1,000 per head for an execution. The individual beheaded Sunday was executed for a nonviolent drug offense; 38 of the executions so far have been drug-related. Beheadings are reportedly considered the most efficient way to deter crimes in Saudi Arabia, notes the Times. According to the International Business Times, Saudi Arabia consistently ranks in the top five among world nations that put people to death. It ranked third in 2014, after China and Iran.
The rise in the number of executions, as well as the need for more executioners, appears to be a facet of King Salman’s extreme interpretation of Sharia Law–more extreme than his predecessor, the late King Abdullah, who passed away four months ago at 90-years-old. The Times also states that the rise in executions this year could be due to an uptick in new judicial appointments that have allowed a backlog of appeal cases to be decided.
A source recently told the AFP that the exceptionally high number of executions under King Salman, 79, could also be an attempt to show his power. “The Saudi authorities want to show everyone they are strong, people can rely on them to keep the security and the safety in the kingdom,” the source reportedly said.
The United States reportedly executed 34 people in 2014, and President Barack Obama recently complained at the United Nations about America’s so-called “human rights” problems, among which he listed voter identification laws in Texas and elsewhere, discrimination against Muslims who want to build or expand mosques, the suspension of black children in schools, police brutality, including the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, and the false statistic of women earning “78 cents on the dollar” when compared to men.
In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.