<p>cheap buggers at my school. I say! for shame…</p>
Historically, it was most frequently used as a means to suppress political enemies, but it was sometimes considered a form of entertainment for the public as well.</p>
<p>In modern democratic societies it can be used as a tool for political advancement of government officials, as a public display of intolerance of crime.</p>
<p> Asphyxiation (or strangulation), such as by Garrotte
Blood eagle (possibly a myth)
Boiling to death
Burning, especially for religious heretics and witches on the stake
Breaking on the Wheel
Burial (alive, also known as the pit)
Crushing by a weight, abruptly or as a slow ordeal - see also animals
Decapitation, or beheading (as by sword, axe or guillotine)
Disruption (a form of dismemberment)
Drawing and quartering (Considered by many to be the most “cruel” of punishments)
Flaying = skinning
Fustuarium - see also for not always lethal successors
Keelhauling (not always lethal) and walking the plank (if not mythical)
Scaphism and similar methods mentioned there
Shooting can be performed either
o by Firing squad
o by a single shooter (such as the neck shot, often performed on a kneeling prisoner, as in present PR China in significant numbers)
o (especially collectively) by cannon or machine gun
Starvation and Dehydration
Various animal-related methods
o Tearing apart by horses, e.g. Ancient China (using five horses) or “quartering,” with four horses, and in The Song of Roland
o Attack/devouring by animals, such as dogs or wolves, as in Ancient Rome and the Biblical lion’s den, by rodents (such as rats), by carnivorous fish (such as sharks), by crabs or by insects (such as ants)
o Poisonous bites from scorpions, snakes, spiders etcetera
o Crushing by elephant or trampling by a herd or by horsemen, as practiced by the Mongolian hordes </p>
<pre><code>Country Executions Executions per 100 million residents
5 Saudi Arabia
9 United States
<p>Most democratic countries today have abolished the death penalty, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, almost all of Europe, and much of Latin America, though in Honduras there is a political debate raging about whether, having been abolished in 1956, it should be restored.
Among western countries, the first to abolish capital punishment was Portugal, where the last execution took place in 1846, and the punishment was officially abolished in 1867.
In all, 89 countries have abolished the death penalty altogether, another 28 countries have not executed anyone in the last ten years, and 9 officially maintain the death penalty only for “exceptional crimes” (e.g., war crimes).
In 1949, Federal Republic of Germany and Costa Rica became the first countries in the world to ban the death penalty in their constitutions. As of 2005, the constitutions of 42 countries prohibit capital punishment.
Countries that retain it include Japan, the United States, and a number of countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Caribbean. Altogether, 74 countries still use the death penalty.
In the United States, the issue of capital punishment is largely left up to the individual states; the federal government reserves the right to perform executions, but does so extremely infrequently. Twelve states have legally abolished the death penalty. Some have reformed the policies, by declaring a moratorium on its use, as has been done in Illinois under Governor George H. Ryan.
In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that the death penalty cannot be applied to persons who were under age 18 at the time of commission of the crime. That decision resulted in 72 convicted murderers being taken off death row.
Although the People’s Republic of China accounts for the vast majority of executions in the world, it does not allow for the executions of those under 18.
Several international organizations have made the abolition of the death penalty a requirement of membership, most notably the European Union and the Council of Europe. The European Union and the Council of Europe require abolition of the death penalty by states wishing to join, but are willing to accept a moratorium as an interim measure. Thus, while Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, and practices the death penalty in law, it has not made use of it since becoming a member of the Council. Another example is Latvia which entered a moratorium in 1996. Latvia retains the death penalty in extraordinary circumstances (as does Albania), and is the only member of the European Union not to have ratified the 13th Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (which prohibits the death penalty in all circumstances). Latvia’s parliament has, however, signed the 13th Protocol.
Turkey has recently, as a move towards EU membership, undergone a reform of its legal system. Previously there was a de facto moratorium on death penalty in Turkey as the last execution took place in 1984. The death penalty was removed from peacetime law as in August 2002, and in May 2004 Turkey amended its constitution in order to remove capital punishment in all circumstances. As a result of this, Europe is a continent free of the death penalty in practice (all states having ratified the Sixth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights), with the sole exception of Belarus, which is not a member of the Council of Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has also been lobbying for Council of Europe observer states who practice the death penalty, namely the United States and Japan, to abolish it also or lose their observer status.
According to Victor Hugo: «Que dit la loi? Tu ne tueras pas! Comment le dit-elle? En tuant!» (“What does the law say? You will not kill! How does it say it? By killing!”).
The death penalty is a violation of human rights primarily Article 3 and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some assert that it violates the “natural rights” laid out by 17th-century English philosopher John Locke who set out many of the foundations of American law. The American Declaration of Independence also includes the “right to life” as the first listed of the natural rights. While those against capital punishment might claim this as an irrevocable right, proponents may claim that, as protection from abuse is the basis of such rights, that the right was forfeit by the seriousness of the crimes.
Criminal proceedings are fallible. Some people facing the death penalty have been exonerated, sometimes only minutes before their scheduled execution. Others have been executed before evidence clearing them is discovered. While criminal trials not involving the death penalty can also involve mistakes, there is at least the opportunity for those mistakes to be corrected. This has been particularly relevant in cases where new forensic methods (such as DNA) have become available.</p>