Report: Saudis rethinking method of execution

A Saudi newspaper says a ministerial committee is looking into formally dropping public beheadings as a method of execution in the oil-rich kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where a death sentence results in beheading in a public square.

The authoritative daily Al-Watan says in its Sunday edition that the ministerial committee is considering fatal shootings as an alternative.

There have been calls in the kingdom for replacing public beheadings with lethal injections carried out in prisons.

The kingdom executes anyone convicted of murder, armed robbery, rape and trafficking in drugs.

It has executed 15 people so far this year, 76 last year and 79 in 2011.

There was no official confirmation immediately available of the newspaper's report.