[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Dec 1 21:43:19 UTC 2006
Saudi Government-Appointed Executioner Interview Discusses His Calling and
Demonstrates His Weapons and Methods
The following are excerpts from an interview with the Saudi
government-appointed executioner for Mecca, Abdallah Al-Bishi. The
interview aired on the Lebanese LBC TV on November 4, 2006.
"The People Who Supervise This Field [in Saudi Arabia] Summoned Me, Saying
I Had a Mission"
Reporter: "This is the most renowned executioner in Saudi Arabia, Abdallah
Bin Sa'id Al-Bishi, who carries out the executions. His sword delineates
the border between seriousness and play. There is no negotiating with him
once the heads have ripened. When it's harvesting time, he is the most
suited for the job."
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "I started to work in this field after the death of my
father - about a week or 10 days after his death, in 1412 [1991-92]. I was
surprised that the people who supervise this field summoned me, saying I
had a mission. Allah be praised. Of course, I did not have swords or
anything back then, but I used the swords of my father, may he rest in
peace, and carried out the execution. My first mission was to execute 3
Reporter: "Abu Bader's swords have cut off a hundred heads and more. His
eldest son, Badr, is training in the same profession. He inherited this
profession from his father, Sa'id Al-Bishi. He remembers how, when still a
small boy, he accompanied him to the beheading of a criminal in Mecca.
That sight, Abu Badr says, was the turning point in his life."
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "I was at school, and an execution was set for my
father in Mecca. It was to take place in front of the King Abd Al-'Aziz
Gate. Before all that happened at the Al-Haram Mosque, the executions were
held there. We showed up. I was a little boy. The first thing that came to
my mind when people talked about executions was the digestive system. I
wanted to see it. At that time, we had an exam at school on the digestive
system, and we had to explain about the digestive system and whatever...
So I came along, and the moment my father executed the man, I ran to see
the digestive system, but all I could see was the man's head flying, and
where the neck used to be, there was a kind of well. It went down. That's
it. I couldn't take it anymore. I woke up in the car on the way home. At
night, I tried to go to sleep, but couldn't. I had nightmares, but only
once. Then I got used to it, Allah be praised. "
Reporter: "He carries the memory of many events, which naturally could
have an effect on people, but one sees that he relates to some of them
"He denies that the executioner is cruel. He considers himself one of the
most compassionate people, and all the stories about him come from
"This is The Sword I Used on My First Day at Work"
Abdallah Al-Bishi [showing a sword]: "Let's start with 'the Sultan.' I
began with this Sultan. This is the sword I used on my first day at work.
This is an old sword. This is a 'Jowhar' sword. All my swords are
'Jowhar.' 'Jowhar' are the strongest swords used for beheadings. It is not
affected by the number of people beheaded with it. It is made of strong
iron, not the kind that breaks or anything.
[Shows another sword] "This sword is also a Jowhar. Every sword, of
course, is different in its own way, and is suited for its task. We have a
sword - this 'Qaridha,' to be precise - which is used for vertical
strokes. This stroke is, of course, different from the horizontal one. The
horizontal stroke goes like this [demonstrating]. These are different
Dr. Turki Al-Atyan, Saudi Interior Ministry psychologist: "The rulings of
the shari'a - executions or other punishments decreed by Allah - are
carried out by the sword, not by hanging or by gunfire. In the past,
gunfire was used, and the victim's guardian was allowed to do the
shooting, but out of the fear that possible injustice, Saudi Arabia
decided that executions would be carried out by the sword."
First TV host: "Like we said at the beginning of the show, the executioner
Abdallah Al-Bishi will be joining us shortly. He is delayed because he is
busy carrying out an execution. He is coming to the show straight from
work, and will be joining us soon.
"There are several executioners in Saudi Arabia, but there are no accurate
figures. According to the figures we obtained in our research, there are 6
executioners in Saudi Arabia, but there may be a few others. There are no
Second TV host: "They operate in different regions. Sometimes Abdallah
Al-Bishi is asked to travel to another region, to carry out an execution.
We will talk to him about that, and about the young executioners he has
I Also Cut Off Thieves' Hands And "A Hand and a Leg on Alternate Sides, as
is Written in The Koran"
First TV host: "Do you cut off hands, or do you just do beheadings?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Yes, yes. I carry out the punishment of cutting off
thieves' hands, as well as the cutting off of a hand and a leg on
alternate sides, as is written in the Koran."
Second TV host: "Abdallah, when you carry out the punishment of cutting
off limbs, do you anesthetize the condemned person, or is it done without
anesthesia, like beheadings?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "With regard to the cutting off of a hand, or of both a
hand and a leg, it is done with local anesthesia only."
Second TV host: "But the person who is being beheaded is definitely not
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "No, he is not anesthetized at all."
First TV host: "Abu Badr, do you remember the first time you carried out
an execution? Do you remember that day?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "I remember it to this day. I was surprised when the
officials in charge asked me to carry out one of Allah's punishments. When
I came, I was told it would be an execution, and I said: 'No problem.' I
took the sword that used to belong to my father, may he rest in peace... "
First TV host: "How old were you then?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "At that point I was... I was a man."
First TV host: "You are a man at any age, there's no doubt about that, but
how old were you?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "I don't remember exactly - 32 or 35 years old. I began
First TV host: "How was the experience, especially since it was your first
time? How did you feel?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Every person is a bit worried when he starts a new
job, and is afraid he will fail."
"I Have Beheaded Many People Who Were My Friends, But Whoever Commits an
Offense Brings it on Himself"; "If The Heart is Compassionate, The Hand
Second TV host: "Abdallah, what was your most difficult beheading? Have
you ever beheaded someone you knew?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Yes, I have beheaded many people who were my friends,
but whoever commits an offense brings it on himself."
First TV host: "A viewer from Riyadh called to ask whether you execute
both men and women. Do you execute women, and do you feel anything
different when you execute a woman or a man?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "An execution is an execution. The difference is that
sometimes, when you execute a man, he cannot control his nerves, and sit
or stand straight, so that the job can be done."
First TV host: "As for women, do you feel more compassion than for men? We
know you are merely carrying out [the sentence], but what do you feel?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "If I felt compassion for the person I was executing,
he would suffer. If the heart is compassionate, the hand fails.
First TV host: "When you behead more than three or four people at once,
does it affect you? My 2nd question is: Do you need a break between
executions? Does it affect you or not?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Allah be praised, there is nothing to it. 3, 4, 5, or
6 - there is nothing to it. It's entirely normal. An execution is an
execution, and as long as the person stands straight... As long as the
person stands straight, it makes our job much easier."
Second TV host: "Abdallah, we've heard that one day, you were executing
several people, and the sword broke. Is that true? Tell us that story,
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "It was the handle that came off, not the blade."
First TV host: "Are you training your eldest son Badr or one of his
brothers to do the same job in the future, especially since you inherited
this profession from your father?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Allah be praised, Badr is about to be appointed to the
position in Riyadh."
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Like I already said, there is no difficulty in
carrying out this mission. The only thing that concerns me is that the
condemned person finish what he has to do as quickly as possible."
First TV host: "Abu Badr, what time do you get up? Do you eat a special
breakfast? All these details are very important to us."
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "I cannot elaborate on the work itself. On the personal
level, I am very normal. I get up in the morning, pray the Al-Fajr prayer.
My breakfast is prepared, and I eat it. Allah be praised. I wait for the
police car to pick me up, and I go to work. It's all very normal. I finish
the job, and go home. It's all very normal."
Second TV host: "Abdallah, sometimes at executions, the condemned asks to
be pardoned by the victim's family, right?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "To be pardoned?"
Second TV host: "Do you go and talk to the victim's family?"
Abdallah Al-Bishi: "Yes, yes. I intervene in the reconciliation efforts.
There are many good people on the scene, who intervene through the
authorities or the police. May Allah reward them all. But the first to
mediate is me, the executioner on the scene."
(source: Special Dispatch)
Egypt court sentences 10 for Sinai bombings
An Egyptian state security court sentenced 10 men to between 5 years and
life in prison on Thursday for their role in explosions at tourist resorts
on the Sinai coast that killed more than 100 people.
The court in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia also confirmed death
sentences against 3 men convicted of organising the 3 attacks between
October 2004 and April 2006.
The confirmation was a formality after the mufti of Egypt, the
government-appointed interpreter of Islamic law, gave his approval to the
The 10 defendants faced charges of murder, attempted murder, belonging to
a terrorist group, possession of explosives and weapons, damaging public
property and sheltering criminals.
They had pleaded not guilty. After a judge read the verdicts on Thursday
they shouted slogans denouncing the United States and Israel, whom they
blamed for the bombings.
The prosecution said the bombers were part of a Sinai group called One God
and Jihad. None of the defendants provided any information about such a
group in court. Several said they had made confessions under physical and
They come from the area around El Arish and Sheikh Zuwaid in northern
Sinai, an impoverished and relatively isolated region which has a
significant population with links to the Palestinians in neighbouring
The area has high unemployment and political Islam is widespread there. In
southern Sinai, where the bombings took place, mass tourism has stimulated
the local economy.
Foreign intelligence organisations had speculated al Qaeda had a role in
the bombings but neither the Egyptian authorities nor any authenticated al
Qaeda document has established the Sinai group has any foreign links.
The authorities say those who planted the bombs died in the explosions or
were shot dead by police in a hunt that continued for months in the hills
of central Sinai.
2 men were sentenced to life imprisonment, 2 to 15 years, 3 to 10 years, 2
to 7 years and 1 to 5 years. The man sentenced to the shortest term was
convicted only of sheltering criminals and membership of a terrorist
In each of the three attacks, the bombers detonated three explosions,
almost simultaneously, in each case on an Egyptian national holiday. Their
targets were hotels, beach camps and shopping areas popular with foreign
The campaign of bombings began on Oct. 7, 2004, in and near the resort of
Taba close to the border with Israel.
Bombers struck again on July 23, 2005, in Sharm el-Sheikh, the main resort
on the Sinai coast, and then in the town of Dahab on April 24 this year.
Mother 'hurt forever'----Nguyen died, but 'big fish' still
active----Drugs, deals and despair - the flight of a dead man
The 1st anniversary of the execution of Melbourne man Nguyen Tuong Van in
Singapore has not reopened a wound for his mother Kim she has never
stopped grieving for the 25-year-old.
She and her son's closest friends, Kelly Ng and Bronwyn Lew, regrouped in
Melbourne yesterday outside the State Library.
Ms Nguyen sobbed among a sea of multicoloured hands traced by thousands of
supporters of the Reach Out campaign to save her son's life.
She appealed to the Singapore Government to forgive, love and care for its
prisoners and death-row inmates. In a note read by human rights lawyer
Julian Burnside, QC, she said that "they are human beings too" and she was
one of many who had "lost a loved one through the death penalty I am
deeply hurt forever".
In a speech, Mr Burnside criticised the Australian Government's opposition
to the death penalty as "contingent rather than absolute".
He said the Government appeared to have approved the idea of death for the
Bali bombers, "which I suspect is going to make life difficult for them
when they try and save the lives of the Bali 9."
(source: The Age)
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