Saudi be-headings and Iranian hangings

The fundamental fallacy which is committed by almost everyone is this: “A and B hate each other, therefore one is good and the other is bad.”         ==Bertrand Russell, in 1956

Execution in Saudi Arabia

Execution in Saudi Arabia

One thing to remember about the escalating Saudi-Iran conflict is that the two sides are more alike than they are different.   Both are countries in which you can be executed for expressing forbidden political or religious opinions.

The Iranian government has denounced Saudi Arabia for its execution of the dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, along with 46 other opponents of the regime.  But the Iranian government in fact executes more people in any given year than the Saudi government.

Execution in Iran

Execution in Iran

The world death penalty leader is China, followed by Iran as No. 2 and Saudi Arabia as No. 3.

The Saudi government executes people by be-headings, which is gruesome but, if done by a skilled headsman, is relatively quick, even compared to U.S. electrocutions and chemical injections.

The main Iranian method of execution is by slow strangulation, which can take as long as 20 minutes.

As for myself, I don’t believe that capital punishment is wrong in every case.  I think there can be crimes so extreme as to deserve punishment by death.  I would have a hard time asking for mercy for Adolf Eichmann, for example.

But considering the way the death penalty is administered in practice, in the United States but also in other countries, I believe that a world without capital punishment would be better than what exists now.


The Death Penalty: an International Perspective by the Death Penalty Information Center.  Scroll down for year-by-year international comparisons.

Saudi Nimr’s executions: Condemnation and hypocrisy by Sharif Nashashibi for Middle East Eye.

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2 Responses to “Saudi be-headings and Iranian hangings”

  1. peteybee Says:

    My uneducated ideal would be to reserve execution for mass murderers (a dozen or more victims) only. It’s not like we have a problem building prisons. You can’t take back a mistake, and besides, what kind of example does it really set? To judge life and death when there is no immediate danger — as is inevitably the case with a prisoner going through a justice system — that’s a power I wouldn’t trust any indivual with, and certainly not groups of people working as a team.


  2. djgarcia94 Says:

    Iran’s methods are definitely more gruesome, but to me it always seemed that Saudi Arabia was much worse otherwise. It’s interesting seeing Hannity and O’Reilly panic over ISIS beheadings when SA does so many more, granted there’s a huge difference between a giant sword and a knife.


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