Ever since he was a little nipper, Egypt’s chief executioner has loved death. He told a local television station how he loves carrying out the death sentence and how, as a boy, he would strangle and drown cats and dogs.
In an interview as bizarre as they come, Hajj Abd al-Nabi, a chief warrant officer in the Egyptian police, boasted to Video 7 last month that he has executed as many as 800 criminals of every stripe, calling the death penalty he carries out “the law of Allah.” The interview segment was translated into English this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“In all honesty, I love my work. I just love it! I never say ‘no’ when they need me at work,” al-Nabi, an animated man who gesticulated throughout the interview, told the reporter.
With a hint of a smirk, the gravelly voiced executioner said that he honed the art of his trade as a child, calling himself “a little Satan.” At the age of 13 or 14, al-Nabi said, “my hobby was to catch a cat, to place a rope around its neck, to strangle it, and throw it into the water. I would get hold of any animal – even dogs. I would strangle these animals and throw them into the water – even dogs.”
“Strangulation was my hobby. When I applied for the job and did well on the tests – proving that I could take the psychological pressure and so on – they said: ‘Congratulations. Now, grow a moustache’” — a sign of masculine maturity, al-Nabi told the camera.
With a slight twinge of sorrow, broken by a grin, the hardened executioner said, “The truth is that my heart is dead, because executing comes from the heart, not the moustache.”
“Only if you have a heart of stone can you be content in this line of work,” he said.
Nonetheless, al-Nabi was content in his line of work: “I love my job very much, and I can’t give it up,” he said emphatically.
“Even when I retire, I will report for duty in emergencies,” he concluded.