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Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by

the state as a punishment for a crime. The judicial decree that someone be punished in this
manner is a death sentence, while the actual enforcement is an execution. Crimes that can result
in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates
from the Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (referring to execution by beheading).
[1]

Capital punishment has, in the past, been practised by most societies, as a punishment for
criminals, and political or religious dissidents. Historically, the carrying out of the death sentence
was often accompanied by torture, and executions were most often public.
[2]

Currently 58 nations actively practise capital punishment, 98 countries have abolished it de jure
for all crimes, 7 have abolished it for ordinary crimes only (maintain it for special circumstances
such as war crimes), and 35 have abolished it de facto (have not used it for at least ten years
and/or are under moratorium) .
[3]
Amnesty International considers most countries abolitionist;
overall, the organisation considers 140 countries to be abolitionist in law or practice.
[3]
About
90% of all executions in the world take place in Asia.
[4]

Nearly all countries in the world prohibit the execution of individuals who were under the age of
18 at the time of their crimes; since 2009, only Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have carried out
such executions.
[5]
Executions of this kind are prohibited under international law.
[5]

Capital punishment is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and
positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region. In the European Union
member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits
the use of capital punishment.
[6]
The Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, also
prohibits the use of the death penalty by its members.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008 and 2010, non-binding
resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition.
[7]

Although many nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population
live in countries where executions take place, such as the People's Republic of China, India, the
United States of America and Indonesia, the four most-populous countries in the world, which
continue to apply the death penalty (although in India, Indonesia and in many US states it is
rarely employed). Each of these four nations voted against the General Assembly
resolutions.
[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Contents
 1 History
o 1.1 Ancient history
o 1.2 Ancient Tang China
o 1.3 Middle Ages
o 1.4 Modern era
o 1.5 Contemporary era
 2 Movements towards "humane" execution
 3 Abolitionism
 4 Contemporary use
o 4.1 Global distribution
o 4.2 Capital punishment for offenses other than murder
 4.2.1 Drug related offenses
 4.2.2 Non-drug related offenses
o 4.3 Juvenile offenders
 4.3.1 Iran
 4.3.2 Saudi Arabia
 4.3.3 Somalia
o 4.4 Methods
 5 Controversy and debate
o 5.1 Human rights
o 5.2 Wrongful execution
o 5.3 Retribution
o 5.4 Racial, ethic and social class bias
o 5.5 International views
 6 Religious views
o 6.1 Buddhism
o 6.2 Christianity
 6.2.1 Roman Catholic Church
 6.2.2 Protestants
 6.2.3 Mormonism
o 6.3 Hinduism
o 6.4 Islam
o 6.5 Judaism
 7 See also
 8 References
 9 Further reading
 10 External links
o 10.1 Opposing
o 10.2 In favour
o 10.3 Religious views
History


Anarchist Auguste Vaillant guillotined in France in 1894


Hanged, drawn and quartered: the execution of Hugh Despenser the Younger, as depicted in the
Froissart of Louis of Gruuthuse
Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies—both to
punish crime and to suppress political dissent. In most places that practise capital punishment it
is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual
crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes
such as apostasy in Islamic nations (the formal renunciation of the state religion). In many
countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking is also a capital offence. In China, human
trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by the death penalty. In militaries around
the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offences such as cowardice, desertion,
insubordination, and mutiny.
[17]

The use of formal execution extends to the beginning of recorded history. Most historical records
and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice
system. Communal punishment for wrongdoing generally included compensation by the
wrongdoer, corporal punishment, shunning, banishment and execution. Usually, compensation
and shunning were enough as a form of justice.
[18]
The response to crime committed by
neighbouring tribes or communities included formal apology, compensation or blood feuds.
A blood feud or vendetta occurs when arbitration between families or tribes fails or an arbitration
system is non-existent. This form of justice was common before the emergence of an arbitration
system based on state or organised religion. It may result from crime, land disputes or a code of
honour. "Acts of retaliation underscore the ability of the social collective to defend itself and
demonstrate to enemies (as well as potential allies) that injury to property, rights, or the person
will not go unpunished."
[19]
However, in practice, it is often difficult to distinguish between a
war of vendetta and one of conquest.
Severe historical penalties include breaking wheel, boiling to death, flaying, slow slicing,
disembowelment, crucifixion, impalement, crushing (including crushing by elephant), stoning,
execution by burning, dismemberment, sawing, decapitation, scaphism, necklacing or blowing
from a gun.


The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883). Roman Colosseum.
Ancient history
Elaborations of tribal arbitration of feuds included peace settlements often done in a religious
context and compensation system. Compensation was based on the principle of substitution
which might include material (for example, cattle, slave) compensation, exchange of brides or
grooms, or payment of the blood debt. Settlement rules could allow for animal blood to replace
human blood, or transfers of property or blood money or in some case an offer of a person for
execution. The person offered for execution did not have to be an original perpetrator of the
crime because the system was based on tribes, not individuals. Blood feuds could be regulated at
meetings, such as the Viking things.
[20]
Systems deriving from blood feuds may survive
alongside more advanced legal systems or be given recognition by courts (for example, trial by
combat). One of the more modern refinements of the blood feud is the duel.


Giovanni Battista Bugatti, executioner of the Papal States between 1796 and 1865, carried out
516 executions (Bugatti pictured offering snuff to a condemned prisoner). Vatican City abolished
its capital punishment statute in 1969.
In certain parts of the world, nations in the form of ancient republics, monarchies or tribal
oligarchies emerged. These nations were often united by common linguistic, religious or family
ties. Moreover, expansion of these nations often occurred by conquest of neighbouring tribes or
nations. Consequently, various classes of royalty, nobility, various commoners and slave
emerged. Accordingly, the systems of tribal arbitration were submerged into a more unified
system of justice which formalised the relation between the different "classes" rather than
"tribes". The earliest and most famous example is Code of Hammurabi which set the different
punishment and compensation according to the different class/group of victims and perpetrators.
The Torah (Jewish Law), also known as the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Christian Old
Testament), lays down the death penalty for murder, kidnapping, magic, violation of the Sabbath,
blasphemy, and a wide range of sexual crimes, although evidence suggests that actual executions
were rare.
[21]

A further example comes from Ancient Greece, where the Athenian legal system was first
written down by Draco in about 621 BC: the death penalty was applied for a particularly wide
range of crimes, though Solon later repealed Draco's code and published new laws, retaining
only Draco's homicide statutes.
[22]
The word draconian derives from Draco's laws. The Romans
also used death penalty for a wide range of offenses.
[23][24]

Ancient Tang China
Although many are executed in China each year in the present day, there was a time in Tang
Dynasty China when the death penalty was abolished.
[25]
This was in the year 747, enacted by
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (r. 712–756). When abolishing the death penalty Xuanzong ordered
his officials to refer to the nearest regulation by analogy when sentencing those found guilty of
crimes for which the prescribed punishment was execution. Thus depending on the severity of
the crime a punishment of severe scourging with the thick rod or of exile to the remote Lingnan
region might take the place of capital punishment. However the death penalty was restored only
12 years later in 759 in response to the An Lushan Rebellion.
[26]
At this time in China only the
emperor had the authority to sentence criminals to execution. Under Xuanzong capital
punishment was relatively infrequent, with only 24 executions in the year 730 and 58 executions
in the year 736.
[25]



Ling Chi – execution by slow slicing – in Beijing around 1910.
The two most common forms of execution in China in the Tang period were strangulation and
decapitation, which were the prescribed methods of execution for 144 and 89 offences
respectively. Strangulation was the prescribed sentence for lodging an accusation against one's
parents or grandparents with a magistrate, scheming to kidnap a person and sell them into slavery
and opening a coffin while desecrating a tomb. Decapitation was the method of execution
prescribed for more serious crimes such as treason and sedition. Interestingly, and despite the
great discomfort involved, most Chinese during the Tang preferred strangulation to decapitation,
as a result of the traditional Chinese belief that the body is a gift from the parents and that it is
therefore disrespectful to one's ancestors to die without returning one's body to the grave intact.
Some further forms of capital punishment were practised in Tang China, of which the first two
that follow at least were extralegal. The first of these was scourging to death with the thick rod
which was common throughout the Tang especially in cases of gross corruption. The second was
truncation, in which the convicted person was cut in two at the waist with a fodder knife and then
left to bleed to death.
[27]
A further form of execution called Ling Chi (slow slicing), or death
by/of a thousand cuts, was used in China from the close of the Tang dynasty (around 900) to its
abolition in 1905.
When a minister of the fifth grade or above received a death sentence the emperor might grant
him a special dispensation allowing him to commit suicide in lieu of execution. Even when this
privilege was not granted, the law required that the condemned minister be provided with food
and ale by his keepers and transported to the execution ground in a cart rather than having to
walk there.
Nearly all executions under the Tang took place in public as a warning to the population. The
heads of the executed were displayed on poles or spears. When local authorities decapitated a
convicted criminal, the head was boxed and sent to the capital as proof of identity and that the
execution had taken place.
[27]

Middle Ages


The burning of Jakob Rohrbach, a leader of the peasants during the German Peasants' War.


An Aztec adulterer being stoned to death; Florentine Codex.
In medieval and early modern Europe, before the development of modern prison systems, the
death penalty was also used as a generalised form of punishment. During the reign of Henry
VIII, as many as 72,000 people are estimated to have been executed.
[28]

During early modern Europe, a massive moral panic regarding witchcraft swept across Europe
and later the European colonies in North America. During this period, there were widespread
claims that malevolent Satanic witches were operating as an organized threat to Christendom. As
a result, tens of thousands of women were prosecuted and executed through the witch trials of
the early modern period (between the 15th and 18th centuries).
The death penalty also targeted sexual offenses such as sodomy. In England, the Buggery Act
1533 stipulated hanging as punishment for "buggery". James Pratt and John Smith were the last
two Englishmen to be executed for sodomy in 1835.
[29]

Despite the wide use of the death penalty, calls for reform were not unknown. The 12th century
Jewish legal scholar, Moses Maimonides, wrote, "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a
thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent man to death." He argued that executing an
accused criminal on anything less than absolute certainty would lead to a slippery slope of
decreasing burdens of proof, until we would be convicting merely "according to the judge's
caprice". Maimonides' concern was maintaining popular respect for law, and he saw errors of
commission as much more threatening than errors of omission.
[30]

Islam on the whole accepts capital punishment,
[31]
and the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad, such as
Al-Mu'tadid, were often cruel in their punishments.
[32]
Nevertheless, mercy is considered
preferable in Islam
[33]
and in Sharia law the victim's family can choose to spare the life of the
killer, which is not uncommon.
[34]
In the One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the
Arabian Nights, the fictional storyteller Sheherazade is portrayed as being the "voice of sanity
and mercy", with her philosophical position being generally opposed to punishment by death.
She expresses this through several of her tales, including "The Merchant and the Jinni", "The
Fisherman and the Jinni", "The Three Apples", and "The Hunchback".
[35]



The breaking wheel was used during the Middle Ages and was still in use into the 19th century.
Modern era


Mexican execution by firing squad, 1916
The last several centuries have seen the emergence of modern nation-states. Almost fundamental
to the concept of nation state is the idea of citizenship. This caused justice to be increasingly
associated with equality and universality, which in Europe saw an emergence of the concept of
natural rights. Another important aspect is that emergence of standing police forces and
permanent penitential institutions. The death penalty became an increasingly unnecessary
deterrent in prevention of minor crimes such as theft. The argument that deterrence, rather than
retribution, is the main justification for punishment is a hallmark of the rational choice theory
and can be traced to Cesare Beccaria whose well-known treatise On Crimes and Punishments
(1764), condemned torture and the death penalty and Jeremy Bentham who twice critiqued the
death penalty.
[36]
Moving executions there inside prisons and away from public view was
prompted by official recognition of the phenomenon reported first by Beccaria in Italy and later
by Charles Dickens and Karl Marx of increased violent criminality at the times and places of
executions.
By 1820 in Britain, there were 160 crimes that were punishable by death, including crimes such
as shoplifting, petty theft, stealing cattle, or cutting down trees in public place.
[37]
The severity of
the so-called Bloody Code, however, was often tempered by juries who refused to convict, or
judges, in the case of petty theft, who arbitrarily set the value stolen at below the statutory level
for a capital crime.
[38]

Contemporary era


Polish women being led to a Nazi execution site in the Palmiry forest, near Warsaw.


The execution of Stanislaus Lacroix, March 21, 1902, Hull, Quebec. At top right, onlookers
watch from telephone poles.


Old Sparky, the electric chair used at Sing Sing prison
The 20th century was a violent period. Tens of millions were killed in wars between nation-states
as well as genocide perpetrated by nation states against political opponents (both perceived and
actual), ethnic and religious minorities; the Turkish assault on the Armenians, Hitler's attempt to
exterminate the European Jews, the Khmer Rouge decimation of Cambodia, the massacre of the
Tutsis in Rwanda, to cite four of the most notorious examples. A large part of execution was
summary execution of enemy combatants. In Nazi Germany there were three types of capital
punishment; hanging, decapitation and death by shooting.
[39]
Also, modern military organisations
employed capital punishment as a means of maintaining military discipline. The Soviets, for
example, executed 158,000 soldiers for desertion during World War II.
[40]
In the past, cowardice,
absence without leave, desertion, insubordination, looting, shirking under enemy fire and
disobeying orders were often crimes punishable by death (see decimation and running the
gauntlet). One method of execution since firearms came into common use has almost invariably
been firing squad.
Various authoritarian states— for example those with fascist or communist governments—
employed the death penalty as a potent means of political oppression. According to Robert
Conquest, the leading expert on Stalin's purges, more than 1 million Soviet citizens were
executed during the Great Terror of 1937–38, almost all by a bullet to the back of the head.
[41]

Mao Zedong publicly stated that "800,000" people had been executed after the Communist
Party's victory in 1949. Partly as a response to such excesses, civil rights organizations have
started to place increasing emphasis on the concept of human rights and abolition of the death
penalty.
Among countries around the world, almost all European and many Pacific Area states (including
Australia, New Zealand and Timor Leste), and Canada have abolished capital punishment. In
Latin America, most states have completely abolished the use of capital punishment, while some
countries, such as Brazil, allow for capital punishment only in exceptional situations, such as
treason committed during wartime. The United States (the federal government and 32 of the
states), Guatemala, most of the Caribbean and the majority of democracies in Asia (for example,
Japan and India) and Africa (for example, Botswana and Zambia) retain it. South Africa's
Constitutional Court, in judgement of the case of State v Makwanyane and Another, unanimously
abolished the death penalty on 6 June 1995.
[42][43]

Abolition was often adopted due to political change, as when countries shifted from
authoritarianism to democracy, or when it became an entry condition for the European Union.
The United States is a notable exception: some states have had bans on capital punishment for
decades (the earliest is Michigan, where it was abolished in 1846), while others actively use it
today. The death penalty there remains a contentious issue which is hotly debated.
In abolitionist countries, debate is sometimes revived by particularly brutal murders, though few
countries have brought it back after abolishing it. However, a spike in serious, violent crimes,
such as murders or terrorist attacks, has prompted some countries (such as Sri Lanka and
Jamaica) to effectively end the moratorium on the death penalty. In retentionist countries, the
debate is sometimes revived when a miscarriage of justice has occurred, though this tends to
cause legislative efforts to improve the judicial process rather than to abolish the death penalty.
Movements towards "humane" execution
Further information: Cruel and unusual punishment


A gurney in the San Quentin State Prison in the United States on which prisoners are restrained
during an execution by lethal injection.
Trends in most of the world have long been to move to less painful, or more humane, executions.
France developed the guillotine for this reason in the final years of the 18th century, while
Britain banned drawing and quartering in the early 19th century. Hanging by turning the victim
off a ladder or by kicking a stool or a bucket, which causes death by suffocation, was replaced by
long drop "hanging" where the subject is dropped a longer distance to dislocate the neck and
sever the spinal cord. Shah of Persia introduced throat-cutting and blowing from a gun as quick
and painless alternatives to more tormentous methods of executions used at that time.
[44]
In the
U.S., the electric chair and the gas chamber were introduced as more humane alternatives to
hanging, but have been almost entirely superseded by lethal injection, which in turn has been
criticised as being too painful. Nevertheless, some countries still employ slow hanging methods,
beheading by sword and even stoning, although the latter is rarely employed.
In early New England, public executions were a very solemn and sorrowful occasion, sometimes
attended by large crowds, who also listened to a Gospel message
[45]
and remarks by local
preachers and politicians. The Connecticut Courant records one such public execution on 1
December 1803, saying, "The assembly conducted through the whole in a very orderly and
solemn manner, so much so, as to occasion an observing gentleman acquainted with other
countries as well as this, to say that such an assembly, so decent and solemn, could not be
collected anywhere but in New England."
[46]

Abolitionism


Peter Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, by Joseph Hickel (de), 1769
The death penalty was banned in China between 747 and 759. In Japan, Emperor Saga abolished
the death penalty in 818 under the influence of Shinto and it lasted until 1156. Therefore, capital
punishment was not employed for 338 years in ancient Japan.
[47]

In England, a public statement of opposition was included in The Twelve Conclusions of the
Lollards, written in 1395. Sir Thomas More's Utopia, published in 1516, debated the benefits of
the death penalty in dialogue form, coming to no firm conclusion. More recent opposition to the
death penalty stemmed from the book of the Italian Cesare Beccaria Dei Delitti e Delle Pene
("On Crimes and Punishments"), published in 1764. In this book, Beccaria aimed to demonstrate
not only the injustice, but even the futility from the point of view of social welfare, of torture and
the death penalty. Influenced by the book, Grand Duke Leopold II of Habsburg, famous
enlightened monarch and future Emperor of Austria, abolished the death penalty in the then-
independent Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the first permanent abolition in modern times. On 30
November 1786, after having de facto blocked capital executions (the last was in 1769), Leopold
promulgated the reform of the penal code that abolished the death penalty and ordered the
destruction of all the instruments for capital execution in his land. In 2000 Tuscany's regional
authorities instituted an annual holiday on 30 November to commemorate the event. The event is
commemorated on this day by 300 cities around the world celebrating Cities for Life Day.
The Roman Republic banned capital punishment in 1849. Venezuela followed suit and abolished
the death penalty in 1854
[48]
and San Marino did so in 1865. The last execution in San Marino
had taken place in 1468. In Portugal, after legislative proposals in 1852 and 1863, the death
penalty was abolished in 1867.
Abolition occurred in Canada in 1976, in France in 1981, and in Australia in 1973 (although the
state of Western Australia retained the penalty until 1984). In 1977, the United Nations General
Assembly affirmed in a formal resolution that throughout the world, it is desirable to
"progressively restrict the number of offenses for which the death penalty might be imposed,
with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment".
[49]

In the United Kingdom, it was abolished for murder (leaving only treason, piracy with violence,
arson in royal dockyards and a number of wartime military offences as capital crimes) for a five-
year experiment in 1965 and permanently in 1969, the last execution having taken place in 1964.
It was abolished for all peacetime offences in 1998.
[50]

In the United States, Michigan was the first state to ban the death penalty, on 18 May 1846.
[51]

The death penalty was declared unconstitutional between 1972 and 1976 based on the Furman v.
Georgia case, but the 1976 Gregg v. Georgia case once again permitted the death penalty under
certain circumstances. Further limitations were placed on the death penalty in Atkins v. Virginia
(death penalty unconstitutional for persons suffering from mental retardation) and Roper v.
Simmons (death penalty unconstitutional if defendant was under age 18 at the time the crime was
committed). Currently, as of 2 May 2013, 18 states of the U.S. and the District of Columbia ban
capital punishment, with Maryland the most recent state to ban the practice.
[52]
A 2010 Gallup
poll shows that 64% of Americans support the death penalty for someone convicted of murder,
down from 65% in 2006 and 68% in 2001.
[53][54]
Of the states where the death penalty is
permitted, California has the largest number of inmates on death row. Texas has performed the
most executions (since the US Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976,
40% of all US executions have taken place in Texas),
[55]
and Oklahoma has had (through mid-
2011) the highest per capita execution rate.
[56]

One of the latest countries to abolish the death penalty for all crimes was Gabon, in February
2010.
[57]

Human rights activists oppose the death penalty, calling it "cruel, inhuman, and degrading
punishment". Amnesty International considers it to be "the ultimate denial of Human Rights".
[58]

Contemporary use
Global distribution


Use of the death penalty around the world (as of 2012
[59]
).
Abolished for all offenses** (97)
Abolished for all offenses except under special circumstances (8)
Retains, though not used for at least 10 years (35)
Retains death penalty (58)*
* While laws vary among U.S. states, it is considered retentionist because the federal death
penalty is still in active use. **Russia retains the death penalty, but the regulations of the Council
of Europe prohibits it from carrying out any executions.
See also: Use of capital punishment by country


A map showing the use of capital punishment in the US.
State uses death penalty
State doesn’t use death penalty
Since World War II there has been a trend toward abolishing the death penalty. In 1977, 16
countries were abolitionist. According to information published by Amnesty International in
2012, 97 countries had abolished capital punishment altogether, 8 had done so for all offences
except under special circumstances, and 36 had not used it for at least 10 years or were under a
moratorium. The other 57 retained the death penalty in active use.
[60]

Criminal procedure
Criminal trials and convictions
Rights of the accused
 Fair trial
 Speedy trial
 Jury trial
 Counsel
 Presumption of innocence
 Exclusionary rule
1

 Self-incrimination
 Double jeopardy
2

Verdict
 Conviction
 Acquittal
 Not proven
3

 Directed verdict
Sentencing
 Mandatory
 Suspended
 Custodial
 Dangerous offender
4, 5

 Capital punishment
 Execution warrant
 Cruel and unusual punishment
 Life
 Indefinite
Post-sentencing
 Parole
 Probation
 Tariff
6

 Life licence
6

 Miscarriage of justice
 Exoneration
 Pardon
 Sexually violent predator legislation
1

Related areas of law
 Criminal defenses
 Criminal law
 Evidence
 Civil procedure
Portals
 Law
 Criminal justice

1
US courts

2
Not in English/Welsh courts

3
Scottish courts

4
English/Welsh courts

5
Canadian courts

6
UK courts
 v
 t
 e
According to Amnesty International, only 21 countries were known to have had executions
carried out in 2012.
[61]
In addition, there are countries which do not publish information on the
use of capital punishment, most significantly China.
[62]
At least 18,750 people worldwide were
under sentence of death at the beginning of 2012.
[63]

Rank Country Number executed in 2012
[64]

1 People's Republic of China 4,000+Officially not released.
2 Iran 314+
3 Iraq 129+
4 Saudi Arabia 79+
5 United States 43
6 Yemen 28+
7 Sudan 19+
8 Afghanistan 14
Rank Country Number executed in 2012
[64]

9 Gambia 9
10 Japan 7
11 North Korea 6+
12 Somalia 6+
13 Palestinian Authority 6
14 Republic of China (Taiwan) 6
15 South Sudan 5+
16 Belarus 3+
17 Botswana 2
18 Bangladesh 1
19 India 1
20 Pakistan 1
21 United Arab Emirates 1
The use of the death penalty is becoming increasingly restrained in some retentionist countries
including Taiwan and Singapore.
[65]
Indonesia carried out no executions between November
2008 and March 2013.
[66]
Japan and 32 out of 50 states in the United States are the only OECD
members that are classified by Amnesty International as 'retentionist' (South Korea is classified
as 'abolitionist in practice').
[59]
Nearly all of retentionist countries are situated in Asia, Africa and
the Caribbean.
[59]
The only retentionist country in Europe is Belarus. The death penalty was
overwhelmingly practised in poor and authoritarian states, which often employed the death
penalty as a tool of political oppression. During the 1980s, the democratisation of Latin America
swelled the rank of abolitionist countries.
This was soon followed by the fall of communism in Europe. Many of the countries which
restored democracy aspired to enter the EU. The European Union and the Council of Europe
both strictly require member states not to practise the death penalty (see Capital punishment in
Europe). Public support for the death penalty in the EU varies.
[67]
The last execution on the
present day territory of the Council of Europe has taken place in 1997 in Ukraine.
[68][69]
On the
other hand, rapid industrialisation in Asia has been increasing the number of developed
retentionist countries. In these countries, the death penalty enjoys strong public support, and the
matter receives little attention from the government or the media; in China there is a small but
growing movement to abolish the death penalty altogether.
[70]
This trend has been followed by
some African and Middle Eastern countries where support for the death penalty is high.
Some countries have resumed practicing the death penalty after having suspended executions for
long periods. The United States suspended executions in 1972 but resumed them in 1976, then
again on 25 September 2007 to 16 April 2008; there was no execution in India between 1995 and
2004; and Sri Lanka declared an end to its moratorium on the death penalty on 20 November
2004,
[71]
although it has not yet performed any executions. The Philippines re-introduced the
death penalty in 1993 after abolishing it in 1987, but abolished it again in 2006.
In May 2013, Papua New Guinea lawmakers voted to introduce the death penalty for crimes such
as rape, robbery and sorcery-related murder, and introduce punishments such as electrocution,
firing squad and suffocation.
[citation needed]

In 2012, Japan and the US were the only countries in the G8 to have carried out executions; and
the US was the only country to have carried out executions in the Americas.
[72]
In 2012, there
were 43 executions in the US, which have taken place in nine states: Arizona (6), Delaware (1),
Florida (3), Idaho (1), Mississippi (6), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (6), South Dakota (2), Texas (15).
[73]

The latest country to move towards abolition is Mongolia. In January 2012, its Parliament
adopted a bill providing for the death penalty to be abolished.
[74]

For further information about capital punishment in individual countries or regions, see:
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India · Iran · Iraq · Japan · New Zealand · Pakistan· Philippines · Russia · Singapore · Taiwan ·
United Kingdom · United States