A public execution is a form of capital punishment in which "members of the general public may voluntarily attend." The standard definition normally excludes the presence of a limited number of "passive citizens" that "witness the event to assure executive accountability." While today the great majority of the world considers public executions to be uncivilized and distasteful and most countries have outlawed the practice, throughout much of history executions were performed publicly as a means for the state to demonstrate "its power before those who fell under its jurisdiction be they criminals, enemies, or political opponents." Additionally, it afforded the public a chance to witness "what was considered a great spectacle."
- "Who Was the Afghan Mom Executed by Taliban?". ABC News. 2 October 2002.
- Cawthorne, Nigel (2006). Public Executions: From Ancient Rome to the Present Day. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-7858-2119-9.
- Blum, Steven A. (Winter 1992). "Public Executions: Understand the "Cruel and Unusual Punishments" Clause". Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 19 (2): 415.
- "Death penalty statistics, country by country". The Guardian. 12 April 2013.
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