Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Amnesty International Pages: 7 (2158 words) Published: March 25, 2013
The death penalty SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The judicial decree that someone be punished in this manner is a death sentence, while the actual process of killing the person is an execution. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (referring to execution by beheading).[1] Capital punishment has, in the past, been practised by most societies (one notable exception being Kievan Rus);[2] currently 58 nations actively practise it, and 97 countries have abolished it (the remainder have not used it for 10 years or allow it only in exceptional circumstances such as wartime).[3] It is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region. In the European Union member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment.[4] Currently, Amnesty International considers most countries abolitionist.[5] The UN General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008 and 2010, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition.[6] Although many nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population live in countries where executions take place, such as the People's Republic of China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia, the four most-populous countries in the world, which continue to apply the death penalty (although in India, Indonesia and in many US states it is rarely employed). Each of these four nations voted against the General Assembly resolutions.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Contents [hide]

1 History
1.1 Ancient history
1.2 Ancient Tang China
1.3 Middle Ages
1.4 Modern era
1.5 Contemporary era
2 Movements towards humane execution
3 Abolitionism
4 Contemporary use
4.1 Global distribution
4.2 Execution for drug-related offences
4.3 Juvenile offenders
4.3.1 Iran
4.3.2 Somalia
4.4 Methods
5 Controversy and debate
5.1 Human rights
5.2 Wrongful execution
5.3 Retribution
5.4 International views
6 Religious views
6.1 Buddhism
6.2 Christianity
6.2.1 Roman Catholic Church
6.2.2 Protestants
6.2.3 Mormonism
6.3 Hinduism
6.4 Islam
6.5 Judaism
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links
10.1 Opposing
10.2 In favour
10.3 Religious views

Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies—both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. In most places that practise capital punishment it is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy in Islamic nations (the formal renunciation of the state religion). In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking is also a capital offence. In China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offences such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.[16]

Anarchist Auguste Vaillant guillotined in France in 1894
The use of formal execution extends to the beginning of recorded history. Most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system. Communal punishment for wrongdoing generally included compensation by the wrongdoer, corporal punishment, shunning, banishment and execution. Usually, compensation and shunning were enough as a form of justice.[17] The response to crime committed by neighbouring tribes or communities included...
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