Execution by shooting

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A Batista firing squad in Cuba

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,[1] 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.

Soviet bloc[edit]

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.

United States[edit]

Since 1608, about 142 men have been judicially shot in the United States and its English-speaking predecessor territories, excluding executions related to the American Civil War.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clark, Richard (2006). "Shot at dawn!". Capital Punishment U.K. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  2. ^ M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smylka's database, "Executions in the U.S. 1608-2002: The Espy File." (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) [1]
  3. ^ # ^ Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914 Richard Holmes HarperCollins 2005
  4. ^ Cormack, Lucy (2015-01-17). "Drug traffickers in Indonesia face firing squad of 12 in first executions of 2015". SMH. SMH. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  5. ^ “Le président mongol veut abolir la peine de mort”, Le Monde, January 14, 2009
  6. ^ Thailand Department of Corrections: Death Penalty
  7. ^ The Free Press - Independent News Media - International Issues


  • Zelitch, Judah. "Soviet Administration of Criminal Law". University of Pennsylvania Press, 1931

External links[edit]