Execution by shooting
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Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries, with execution by firing squad being one particular form. In most countries, execution by a firing squad has historically been considered a more honorable death and was used primarily for military personnel, though in some countries - including Belarus, the only country to practice the death penalty in Europe - single-executioner shooting is still in use.
In 20th century communist states, shooting was a standard form of execution of civilian and military prisoners alike, with the Soviet Union setting an example of single-executioner approach. The firing squad, with its usual solemn and lengthy ceremony was used infrequently, with the most common method being the unexpected firing of a pistol bullet into the back of the head. The person who was to be executed was often led through a series of corridors, not knowing when or where the shot takes place.
Often the phrase "execution by firing squad" is incorrectly used to translate the Russian term "расстрел" (rasstrel), which, in general, refers to any form of shooting, either by a single executioner or a firing squad, regardless of method.
On May 14, 1913, Andriza Mircovich became the first and only inmate in Nevada to be executed by shooting. After the warden of Nevada State Prison was unable to find five men to form a firing squad, a shooting machine was built to carry out Mircovich's execution. On October 31, 1938, John Deering, a condemned inmate at Sugar House Prison in Utah, volunteered to have himself hooked up to an electrocardiogram while he was shot by a firing squad to observe the effect of gunshot wounds to the heart.
- In the People's Republic of China, shooting as a method of execution takes two typical formats, either an assault rifle shot in the back of the head or in the neck or a shot by an automatic rifle in the back from behind.
- In India, during the Mughal rule, soldiers who committed crimes were executed by being strapped to a cannon which was then fired. This method, invented by the Mughals, was continued by the British who used it to execute native deserters and mutineers, especially after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
- In Indonesia, capital punishment is administered by a firing squad which aims for the heart. The number of blanks and live bullets is not known and is random.
- In Mongolia, the method of execution prior to abolition in 2012 was a bullet to the neck from a .38 revolver, a method inherited from Soviet legislation. (See Capital punishment in Mongolia)
- In Taiwan, the customary method is a single shot aimed at the heart (or at the brain stem, if the prisoner consents to organ donation). Prior to the execution, the prisoner is injected with strong anaesthetic to leave them completely senseless. (See Capital punishment in Taiwan)
- In Thailand from 1934 until 19 October 2001, a single executioner would shoot the convict in the back from a mounted machine gun.
- In North Korea, executions are carried out by firing squad in public, making North Korea one of the last four countries to perform public executions.
- Clark, Richard (2006). "Shot at dawn!". Capital Punishment U.K. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "Nevada State Prison Inmate Case Files: Andriza Mircovich". Nevada State Library and Archives. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- "No One To Shoot Murderer". The New York Times. August 12, 1912. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
- Cafferata, Patty (June 2010). "Capital Punishment Nevada Style". Nevada Lawyer (State Bar of Nevada). Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- Schindler, Hal (January 28, 1996). "Taylor's Death Was Quick . . . But Some Weren't So Lucky". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
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- Zelitch, Judah. "Soviet Administration of Criminal Law". University of Pennsylvania Press, 1931