Saudi Arabia's Beheading of a Nanny Followed Strict Procedures

Only an adult male family member is allowed to stay an execution and they typically only occur in cases where a Saudi national has been condemned and the family been paid so-called "blood money," Evans said.

The government of Sri Lanka reportedly tried to buy Nafeek's life with a blood money payment.

The executioner, flanked by several uniformed police officers, prays with the condemned before severing the head with a quick stroke to the back of the head.

"When they get to the execution square, their strength drains away. Then I read the execution order, and at a signal I cut the prisoner's head off," al-Beshi said.

Bodies are sometimes put on crucifixes to be observed by the public as a warning. In one case in 2011, when an Indonesian maid was beheaded, her body was reportedly displayed by being hung from a helicopter.

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