List of methods of capital punishment
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This is a list of methods of capital punishment, also known as execution.
|Hanging||One of the most common methods of execution, still in use in many countries, usually with a calculated drop to cause neck fracture and instant loss of consciousness. Notably used by India, Japan, and Singapore.|
|Shooting||Also a very common method. Can be applied:|
|Lethal injection||First used in the United States in 1982, lethal injection has been used by five other countries since then, which are China, Taiwan, Thailand, Guatemala, and Vietnam.|
|Electrocution||Only the United States and the Philippines have ever used this method. Now legal in some U.S. states only to replace injection at the request of the prisoner or if injection is impractical.|
|Gas inhalation||Only the United States and Lithuania have ever used this as a capital punishment method. Now legal in some U.S. states only to replace injection at the request of the prisoner or if injection is impractical. Also used in Nazi Germany during World War 2 as a weapon for mass murder. It has been recently proposed to use nitrogen hypoxia to replace injection.|
|Beheading||Has been used at various points in history in many countries. One of the most famous forms is execution by guillotine. Now used only in Saudi Arabia with a sword.|
|Back-breaking||A Mongolian method of execution that avoided the spilling of blood on the ground (example: the Mongolian leader Jamukha was probably executed this way in 1206).|
|Blowing from a gun||Tied to the mouth of a cannon, which is then fired.|
|Blood Eagle||Cutting the skin of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out through the wounds in the victim's back. Used by the Vikings.|
|Boiling to death||This penalty was carried out using a large cauldron filled with water, oil, tar, tallow, or even molten lead.|
|Brazen bull||Pushed inside an iron bull statue and then cooked alive after a fire is lit under it.|
|Breaking wheel||Also known as the Catherine wheel, after a saint who was allegedly sentenced to be executed by this method.|
|Buried alive||Traditional punishment for Vestal virgins who had broken their vows.|
|Burning||Most infamous as a method of execution for heretics and witches. A slower method of applying single pieces of burning wood was used by Native Americans in torturing their captives to death.|
|Crucifixion||Roping or nailing to a wooden cross or similar apparatus (such as a tree) and allowing to perish.|
|Crushing||By a weight, abruptly or as a slow ordeal.|
|Disembowelment||Often employed as a preliminary stage to the actual execution, e.g. by beheading; an integral part of seppuku (harakiri), which was sometimes used as a form of capital punishment.|
|Dismemberment||Being drawn and quartered sometimes resulted in dismemberment. Note: has been used in combination, such as hanged, drawn and quartered|
|Drawing and quartering||English method of executing those found guilty of high treason.|
|Falling||The victim is thrown off a height or into a hollow (example: the Barathron in Athens, into which the Athenian generals condemned for their part in the battle of Arginusae were cast). In Argentina during the Dirty War, those secretly abducted were later drugged and thrown from an airplane into the ocean.|
|Flaying||The skin is removed from the body.|
|Garrote||Used most commonly in Spain and in former Spanish colonies (e.g. the Philippines), used to strangle or choke someone.|
|Gibbeting||The act of gibbeting refers to the use of a gallows-type structure from which the victim was usually placed within a cage which is then hung in a public location and the victim left to die to deter other existing or potential criminals.|
|Immurement||The confinement of a person by walling off any exits; since they were usually kept alive through an opening, this was more a form of imprisonment for life than of capital punishment (example: the countess Elisabeth Báthory, who lived for four more years after having been immured).|
|Impalement||The penetration of a human by an object such as a stake, pole, spear, or hook, often by complete or partial perforation of the torso.|
|Keelhauling||European maritime punishment.|
|Poena cullei||Documented used during the Roman empire. The condemned is stuffed into a sack together with a number of animals and thrown into a body of water.|
|Poisoning||Before modern times, sayak (사약, 賜藥) was the method of capital punishment of nobles (yangban) and members of the royal family during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea due to the Confucianist belief that one may kill a seonbi but may not insult him (사가살불가욕, 士可殺不可辱).|
|Pendulum||A type of machine with an axe head for a weight that slices closer to the victim's torso over time. (Of disputed historicity.)|
|Sawing||(Of disputed historicity.)|
|Scaphism||An Ancient Persian method of execution in which the condemned was placed in between two boats, force fed a mixture of honey and milk, and left floating in a stagnant pond. The victim would then suffer from severe diarrhea, which would attract insects that would burrow, nest, and feed on the victim. The victim would eventually die from septic shock.|
|Slow slicing||Methodically removing portions of the body over an extended period of time, typically with a knife, eventually resulting in death.|
|Smothering (Asphyxia)||Suffocation in ash|
|Starvation / Dehydration||Immurement|
|Stoning||The condemned is pummeled by stones thrown by a group of people with the totality of the injuries suffered leading to eventual death.|
- "North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un's executions: anti-aircraft guns, flamethrowers, mortars". foxnews.com. 22 September 2017.
- "North Korean defector reveals horror of Kim Jong-un's teenage sex slaves". independent.co.uk. 21 September 2017.
- McKirdy, Euan (February 28, 2017). "N. Korea executed 5 security officials, S. Korea says". cnn.com.
- "This Won't Hurt a Bit: A Painlessly Short (and Incomplete) Evolution of Execution". neatorama.com.
- Saunders, J. J. (1 March 2001). The History of the Mongol Conquests. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 53 – via Google Books.
- The Secret History of the Mongols, book 8, chapter 201.
- Frederick Drimmer (ed.) "Captured by the Indians - 15 Firsthand Accounts, 1750-1870", Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y., 1985.
- Xenophon, "Hellenica", book I, chapter VII.
- R.D. Melville (1905), "The Use and Forms of Judicial Torture in England and Scotland," The Scottish Historical Review, vol. 2, p. 228; Geoffrey Abbott (2006) Execution: the guillotine, the Pendulum, the Thousand Cuts, the Spanish Donkey, and 66 Other Ways of Putting Someone to Death, MacMillan, ISBN 0-312-35222-0, p. 213. Both of these refer to the use of the pendulum (pendola)by inquisitorial tribunals. Melville, however, refers only to its use as a torture method, while Abbott suggests that the device was purposely allowed to kill the victim if he refused to confess.
- Penney, David G. (2000) Carbon Monoxide Toxicity, CRC Press, p. 5, ISBN 0-8493-2065-8.
- Death Penalty Worldwide: Academic research database on the laws, practice, and statistics of capital punishment for every death penalty country in the world.