World & U.S. death penalty maps.
Countries abandoning the death penalty.
Status of the death penalty worldwide as of 2012-APR-25:
Blue: Abolished for all crimes.
Lime-Green: Abolished for crimes
committed in exceptional circumstances (e.g. crimes committed in time of
Orange: Abolished in practice
Reddish-brown: Legal form of punishment for
what are regarded as serious offenses, This includes abandoning the religion of Islam or engaging in same-gender sexual acts in some predominately Islamic countries.
Of the "reddish-brown" states, China is the only one that has a broad range of capital
crimes, including tax fraud, minor drug offenses, and non-violent theft.
It is important to realize that capital crimes
vary greatly around the world. In some states of the U.S., the death penalty
is restricted to multiple murderers. Engaging in pre-marital sex or changing
one's religion can be a capital offense in other countries.
Same-gender sexual behavior is a capital offense in six predominately Muslim countries.
Status of the death penalty in the U.S. as of 2012-MAR: 1
Since the map was written, Connecticut has abandoned execution -- the 5th state to do so in 5 years.
Citizens in California will vote on election day 2012-NOV-06 whether to abandon the death penalty.
Blue states have
no death penalty statute.
states have a death penalty statute but have not executed anyone since 1976.
states have executed people since 1976.
New York's death penalty was declared unconstitutional in 2004.
The Kansas Supreme Court declared that the death penalty is constitutional by
a 5-4 vote on 2006-JUN-26.
New Jersey's legislature abolished the death penalty on 2007-DEC-18 -- the first state in 40 years to do so.
Three addtional states have ended the death penalty since 2007: New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, and Connecticut in 2012.
Countries that have executed people during 2007:
Countries with 25 or more executions: Iraq (29), Iran (265), Pakistan
(29), Saudi Arabia (156), USA (42).
These are all hightly religious countries whose citizens, with the exception of the U.S., enjoy few civil liberties.
Countries with 2 to 25 executions: Afghanistan (15), Bangladesh (6),
China (13), Japan (9), North Korea (8), Singapore (2), Somalia (3), Sudan
(2), Syria (5), Yemen (7).
Countries with 1 execution: Belarus, Botswana, Ethiopia, Indonesia,
Unfortunately the quality of this data is poor because most of the countries
that execute people are dictatorships with few human rights; their governments
frequently do not release complete or accurate data.
Most countries use mercifully quick methods of killing prisoners. Techniques
include hanging victims by first allowing them to free-fall until the rope
breaks their neck and kills them, shooting, beheading, lethal injection, and in
one case in Tennessee: the electric chair. Only a few predominately Muslim
countries are known to execute prisoners by torturing them to death.
In Iran a method that is often used in public hangings involves hoisting
the prisoner into the air or removing a box that they are standing on until
they eventually strangle to death.
Estimates of the number of stonings in Iran alone vary from 2 to many
hundreds during 2007. Here, the victim is immobilized by having their bodies
buried up to their neck. Their heads are then pelted with stones until they expire.
The stones are sadistically chosen so that they are large enough to inflict
considerable damage and pain, yet not large enough to kill the person
As of the end of 2006, 86 countries no longer have the death penalty. This is
a increase from 16 in 1977. Only three industrialized democracies still execute
people: Japan, South Korea, and most states in the U.S.
Abolished death penalty for all crimes
Abolished death penalty for ordinary crimes
Luxembourg, Nicaragua, Norway
Brazil, Fiji, Peru
France, Cape Verde
Cyprus, El Salvador
Haiti, Liechtenstein, German Democratic Republic
Cambodia, New Zealand, Romania, Slovenia
Andorra, Croatia, Czech & Slovak Federal
Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé, Principe
Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong
Mauritius, Moldova, Spain
Europe (See note), Serbia, Yugoslavia, Cyprus. Moratorium on
executions in the Philippines.
Kenya has an informal moratorium on executions.
State of New Jersey, Rwanda
State of New Mexico
State of Illinois
State of Connecticut
Russia and many more countries not listed above retain capital punishment statutes on their books, but have not
executed criminals in many years. Kenya, for example, executed its last prisoner on death row in 1984; Russia in 1996. A UN Economic
and Social Council report lists the current status of the death penalty in most of the countries of the world.
2000: The state of New Hampshire voted to repeal capital
punishment. But governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) vetoed it.
2002: The 45-member Council of Europe allowed capital punishment in the past, for certain crimes during
wartime. Thirty-six members of the council voted to abandon the death penalty at a meeting during 2002-MAY.
This became effective on 2003-JUL-4.
The government of Kenya had planned to abolish the death penalty in their
country by mid-2003, but took no action. 3
"The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has also
been lobbying against those countries who allow executions and have
observer status at the Council of Europe. The aim is to abolish their
observer status unless they abandoned the death penalty. This would include
the United States and Japan. 4
2004: Taiwan's parliament studied the abolition of the death penalty in 2004
but took no action. 1 The
government has promoted abolition, but has not implemented it because public
opinion is about 80% in favor of executions. The number of executions has
dropped from 32 in 1998 to three in 2004, three in 2005, and none in 2007. 5
The United Nations passed a non-binding
resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty on
2007-DEC-18. The U.S., supported by Syria, Iran, China and other
dictatorships, opposed the resolution.
"Taiwan moves to abolish death penalty, recognise gay marriages,"
Radio Australia, 2003-OCT-27, at: http://www.abc.net.au/
"Status of the international covenants on human rights:
Question of the death penalty," UN Economic and Social Council, 1998-JAN-16, at:
http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/ This lists the current status of the death penalty, worldwide.
"New government eyes abolition of death penalty," The Toronto Star, Toronto ON, 2003-JAN-14.