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News from the 7th Century

View over the execution square on the religion police building (R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 15 November 2006. Photo by: Peer Grimm/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

View over the execution square on the religion police building (R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 15 November 2006. Photo by: Peer Grimm/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

It’s a messy job, but somebody’s got to do it:

Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading.

No special qualifications are needed for the jobs whose main role is “executing a judgment of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said.

The Islamic kingdom is in the top five countries in the world for putting people to death, rights groups say. It ranked third in 2014, after China and Iran, and ahead of Iraq and the United States, according to Amnesty International figures.

The telling detail in this story is that the job title is “religious functionary.”