The executioner loves his job
Head over heelsHead over heels

The executioner loves his job

‘I never say no when they need me at work,’ says Hajj Abd al-Nabil, Egypt’s chief executioner who says he’s killed over 800

Hajj Abd al-Nabi, Egypt's chief executioner (screen capture: MEMRI)
Hajj Abd al-Nabi, Egypt's chief executioner (screen capture: MEMRI)

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.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: