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Death Penalty

The Death Penalty is execution by death, usually for committing certain crimes within jurisdictions. It has been a form of punishment since antiquity, and continues to be applied in many places around the world. Currently 103 countries have abolished the death penalty.


The death penalty is usually used in cases for when someone has committed a serious crime such as murder, treason or as part of military justice. In some countries the death penalty is applied for religious reasons, such as becoming an apostate of the state religion. Since World War II there has been a trend towards abolishing the death penalty; nearly all developed countries have abolished the death penalty, as well as many developing countries.

Many countries, although allowing the death penalty, are rarely applying it. Such countries include Japan, Taiwan and many African and Caribbean countries. This is certainly due to the public perception towards the death penalty, not only in those countries but also around the world. For example, in Australia and Norway only 24% support the death penalty, and such low numbers are consistent in many places around the world.

Public executions still take place in some parts of the world, in Saudi Arabia public beheadings occasionally take place, and sometimes criminals are publically crucified. Amnesty International stated that in 2012 public executions were known to have been carried out in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Somalia.

Methods of Execution

Various methods of executions are employed by states which retain the death penalty. Hanging is the preferred method of execution in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Hanging became a popular form of capital punishment during the medieval time due to the speed of death, and relative painlessness. In the US 31 states allow the death penalty, and 16 of them only execute using lethal injection. In the remaining states, the default method of execution is still lethal injection, however states give inmates the option to choose their execution such as by a firing squad, electrocution, lethal gas and hanging, although inmates rarely choose.

Some countries still practice particularly barbaric forms of capital punishment, which are universally seen around the world as backwards, such as death by beheading in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These countries have come under immense international pressure to ban such forms of execution, but they still persist with such punishments.

The death penalty has been used since the ancient times and to this day it continues to be employed by many countries around the world. However, many countries around the world have abolished the use of it, seeing it as backwards and barbaric, and many have not used capital punishment for a long time and are looking to abolish it.