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Capital punishment by country

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Capital punishment by country

The following is a summary of the use of capital punishment by country.

Contents

Historically, capital punishment has been used in almost every part of the world. Currently, the large majority of countries have either abolished or discontinued the practice. The U.S. is the only Western country to use the death penalty. The use of capital punishment is usually divided into the four categories set out below. As of 1 December 2016, of the 195 independent states that are UN members or have UN observer status:

  • 55 retain it in both law and practice.
  • 31 have abolished it de facto, namely, according to Amnesty International standards, that they have not executed anyone during the last 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions.
  • 6 have abolished it, but retain it for exceptional or special circumstances (such as crimes committed in wartime).
  • 103 have abolished it for all crimes.
  • Recent complete abolition of capital punishment

    Madagascar (2015), Fiji (2015), Suriname (2015), Republic of the Congo (2015), Nauru (2016), Guinea (2016) and Mongolia (2016).
    Execution of minors
    Since 2009, Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed offenders who were under the age of 18 (or 21) at the time the crime was committed.
    Public execution
    In 2013, public executions were carried out by the governments of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia.
    Extrajudicial execution
    In some countries the practice of extrajudicial execution outside their own formal legal frameworks occurs sporadically or systematically. Information on this is not covered in this article.

    Industrialized world

    Of the countries considered to be industrialized, just four countries continue to perform capital punishment: the United States, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. (In South Korea, there is a moratorium.)

    The European Union holds a strong position against the death penalty; its abolition is a key objective for the Union’s human rights policy. Abolition is also a pre-condition for entry into the Union. In Europe, only Belarus continues capital punishment.

    Russia and former Soviet republics

    Russia retains the death penalty in law, but there is a moratorium. The last execution on Russian territory was in Chechnya in 1999. Of the other former Soviet republics, only Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan have not formally abolished capital punishment, and only Belarus uses it in practice. In Kazakhstan, it may only be used in exceptional/special circumstances such as for crimes committed in wartime.

    Asia-Pacific

    Most executions worldwide take place in Asia. China is the world's most active death penalty country. North Korea often uses capital punishment. In Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, the numbers of executions are also very high. Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan belong to the few industrialized democracies that have the death penalty (South Korea has a moratorium). In 2016, Nauru & Mongolia repealed the death penalty, while in the Philippines, the newly elected President, Rodrigo Duterte, wants to bring it back. India has a low capital punishment rate.

    Africa

    In Africa, there are several countries that use the death penalty. Chad repealed the death penalty in 2014, but restored it for terrorism in 2015. Botswana and Equatorial Guinea are examples of countries that still execute people. Guinea repealed the death penalty in 2016.

    Caribbean, Central and South America

    In the Caribbean countries, the death penalty exists at least de jure (except in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which abolished it in 1966 and 1987, respectively; in 2008, St. Kitts & Nevis hanged a murderer and became the only American country other than the United States to use the death penalty in practice). In Central and South America, the death penalty exists in Belize, Guatemala, and Guyana. In Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, and Peru, the death penalty is used only in exceptional/special circumstances such as for crimes committed in wartime and was abolished for other crimes. The latest American country to abolish the death penalty is Suriname (in 2015).

    Numbers executed in 2015

    According to Amnesty International, 25 countries performed a combined total of more than 1,630 executions in 2015—the highest number of executions since 1989:

  • Nineteen Asian countries: Afghanistan (1), Bangladesh (4), China (+), India (1), Indonesia (14), Iran (977+), Iraq (26+), Japan (3), Jordan (2), Malaysia (+), North Korea (+), Oman (2), Pakistan (326), Saudi Arabia (158+), Singapore (4), Taiwan (6), UAE (1), Vietnam (+), and Yemen (8+).
  • Five African countries: Chad (10), Egypt (22+), Somalia (25+), South Sudan (5+), Sudan (3),
  • One American country: United States (28),
  • For China, Malaysia, North Korea, and Vietnam, there are no exact numbers available.

    Belarus performed no executions, so that 2015 and 2009 were the only two years in recorded history when Europe was completely free of executions.

    Africa

    Of the 54 independent states in Africa that are UN members:

  • 10 (19%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
  • 25 (46%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 19 (35%) have abolished it.
  • The information above is accurate as of 2016, when Guinea abolished capital punishment. Chad abolished the death penalty in 2014, but restored it for terrorism in 2015.

  • In 2014, Sudan was Africa's leading executioner. This century the following African countries have abolished capital punishment; Ivory Coast (2000), Senegal (2004), Rwanda (2007), Burundi (2009), Togo (2009), Gabon (2010), Congo (2015), Madagascar (2015) and Guinea (2016).
  • Executions in Africa in 2014: Egypt (16+), Equatorial Guinea (9), Somalia (14+), Sudan (23+)
    Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.

    Americas

    Of the 35 independent states in the Americas that are UN members:

  • 2 (6%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
  • 4 (11%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 13 (37%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 16 (46%) have abolished capital punishment.
  • The United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2015. The only other country in the Americas to have performed an execution in the last 10 years is Saint Kitts and Nevis, in 2008. The countries in the Americas that most recently abolished the death penalty are Suriname (2015), Argentina (2009) and Bolivia (2007).

    Executions in the Americas in 2015: United States (28).

    Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.

    Asia-Pacific

    Of the 57 independent countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are UN member or observer states:

  • 24 (42%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
  • 10 (17%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 2 (4%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 21 (37%) have abolished it.
  • The information above is accurate as of 2016, when Nauru & Mongolia abolished the death penalty, and does not include Taiwan which is not currently a UN member. Hong Kong and Macau are also listed below but not included in the figures above as they do not have UN membership separate from China.

  • In 2014, Asia had the worlds four leading practitioners of capital punishment – China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The most recent countries to abolish capital punishment in the Asia-Pacific region are; Timor-Leste (2002), Bhutan (2004), Samoa (2004), Philippines (2006), Kyrgyzstan (2007), Uzbekistan (2008), Fiji (2015), Nauru (2016) and Mongolia (2016).
  • Executions in 2014: China (1000+), North Korea (+), Iran (743+), Iraq (61+), Saudi Arabia (90+), Yemen (23+), Jordan (11), Afghanistan (6), Vietnam (3+), Japan (3), Palestine (26+), Malaysia (2+), Singapore (2), UAE (1).

    Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.

    Europe

    Of the 49 independent states in Europe that are UN members or have UN Observer status:

  • 1 (2%), Belarus, maintains the death penalty.
  • 1 (2%), Russia, is abolitionist in practice.
  • 47 (96%) have abolished it (the most recent in 2012 when Latvia abolished capital punishment in all circumstances).
  • Abolition of death penalty is a pre-condition for entry into the European Union, considered a "cruel and inhuman" practice and "not been shown in any way to act as a deterrent to crime".

    Since 1997 to 2015, Belarus has been the only country in Europe to carry out executions. 2009 and 2015 were the first two years in recorded history when Europe was completely free of executions. This century the following European countries have abolished capital punishment; Ukraine (2000), Malta (2000), Cyprus (2002), Turkey (2004), Moldova (2005), Albania (2007), and Latvia (2012).

    Executions in Europe in 2014: Belarus (3)

    Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.

    Abolition chronology

    The table below lists in chronological order the 103 independent states, that are either UN members or have UN observer status, that have completely abolished the death penalty. In the hundred years following the abolition of capital punishment by Venezuela in 1863 only 10 more countries followed, not counting temporary abolitions which were later reversed. From the 1960s onwards abolition became far more popular. 4 countries abolished capital punishment in the 1960s (a record up to that time for any decade), 11 in the 1970s, and a further 10 in the 1980s. After the end of the Cold War, the rate of abolition greatly increased. 35 countries abolished capital punishment in the 1990s, and a further 23 in the 2000s. Since 1985, there have been only five years when no country has abolished the death penalty: 1988, 2003, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

    Note: Where a country has abolished, re-instated, and abolished again (e.g. Philippines, Switzerland, Portugal) only the later abolition date is included. Countries who have abolished and since reinstated (e.g. Liberia) are not included. Non-independent territories are considered to be under the jurisdiction of their parent country – which leads to unexpectedly late abolition dates for the UK, New Zealand and the Netherlands, where Jersey (UK), the Cook Is (NZ), and the Netherlands Antilles, were the last territories of those states to abolish capital punishment, and all were rather later than the more well known abolitions on the respective mainlands. Defunct countries such as the GDR (East Germany), which abolished capital punishment in 1987 but was dissolved in 1990, are also not included. References are in the continental tables above and not repeated here.

    Adultery

    Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen

    Apostasy

    Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen have death penalty for apostasy. Afghanistan, Brunei, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, United Arab Emirates have death penalty for blasphemy.

    Corruption

    China (not in Hong Kong or Macao), Cuba, Iran ("corruption on Earth")

    Drug trafficking

    See also Capital punishment for drug trafficking Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, China (not in Hong Kong and Macau), Cuba, Egypt, India (option when second conviction for drug trafficking in quantities specified), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States (only under certain conditions), Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe

    Espionage

    Algeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Iran, Peru, Qatar, United States, Vietnam, Syria

    Fraud

    China (not in Hong Kong and Macao), Vietnam

    Homosexuality

    See also LGBT rights by country or territory Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

    Perjury and treason

    Perjury causing the execution of an innocent person: Bangladesh, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, some US States (e.g. California)
    Treason: Algeria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Israel (high treason), Japan, Kenya, Laos, Libya, Myanmar (high treason), North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States (Federal and in some individual States; Vermont keeps death penalty for treason, but has abolished it for murder), Vietnam, Zambia

    Prostitution

    Sudan, North Korea

    Sorcery/Witchcraft

    Saudi Arabia, Central African Republic

    Theft

    Algeria (aggravated theft), North Korea (grand theft), Saudi Arabia (fourth conviction)

    Zoophilia

    See also Zoophilia and the law Brunei, Iran, Niger, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

    There have been no recorded executions so far

    Others

    In the Central African Republic, one can be executed for charlatanism.

    References

    Capital punishment by country Wikipedia


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