Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

10 Countries That Still Embrace Capital Punishment

Over the years, capital punishment has gained and lost support around the world as countries have developed new laws to retain the death penalty for certain crimes, approve it in exceptional circumstances or have abolished it altogether. Out of those 58 countries that still uphold the death penalty, 527 people were executed in 23 countries in 2010. Here are 10 countries that still embrace capital punishment:

  1. China

    China carries out the most executions than any other country in the world. China is considered to be the only country in the world to regularly execute thousands of people each year. Even though the Chinese government does not disclose the total number of executions it performs, Amnesty International has counted thousands of executions during 2010.

  2. United States

    The United States has one of the highest numbers of executions each year. In 2010, the United States executed 46 people in 2010, which was a 12% drop from 2009 and a 50% drop from a decade ago. Currently, 34 of the 50 U.S. states still use the death penalty, and Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma have carried out the most executions in the United States since 1976.

  3. Pakistan

    Since October 2008, the Pakistan Peoples Party enforced a moratorium on the death penalty, which prevented the government from executing criminals in 2009 and 2010. Despite the moratorium, the Pakistani government continues to sentence hundreds of people to death and thousands have remained on death row from previous sentences.

  4. Iran

    Iran has the second highest number of executions in the world. Iran is known for its brutal public executions and lack of discretion about the age of the offenders. In 2010, Iran executed at least 252 people, many of which are for drug-related offenses. In Iran, the death penalty can be given for murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape and pedophilia, as well as homosexuality and apostasy.

  5. North Korea

    North Korea still embraces the death penalty and is a prolific user of this form of punishment. The country performs public executions and allows the death penalty in cases of prostitution, drug transactions, plots against national sovereignty, terrorism, murder and treason. In 2010, North Korea executed at least 60 people.

  6. Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia embraces capital punishment as a way to penalize murderers, drug offenders and those who engage in witchcraft, sexual misconduct and violent or non-violent offenses. In 2010, Saudi Arabia carried out at least 27 executions. The current method for public executions mostly consists of beheading by sword.

  7. Yemen

    Yemen still embraces capital punishment as a form of penalizing those who commit murder and adultery and engage in homosexuality and apostasy. Yemen currently performs public executions by a firing squad, but has also permitted stoning and beheadings in the past. Yemen has proven to be a prolific user of the death penalty and committed at least 53 executions in 2010.

  8. Indonesia

    Indonesia embraces capital punishment and issues the death penalty for those who commit murder, drug trafficking and terrorism. Indonesia carries out executions by a firing squad. Although Indonesia hasn’t performed an execution since 2008 and there has been a shift in the attitude against the death penalty, it has yet to abolish capital punishment.

  9. Bangladesh

    Bangladesh still embraces the death penalty as a form of punishment for those who commit murder, drug offenses, and human trafficking of children and women for immoral and illegal purposes. Bangladesh has imposed mandatory death sentences for these and other crimes, but does not often take into account extenuating circumstances. Bangladesh permits public and jail executions by hanging. In 2010, the country performed at least 9 executions.

  10. Iraq

    Despite an unconfirmed number of executions in 2010, Amnesty International can confirm that Iraq still embraces the death penalty and has the third highest number of executions in the world since 2007. Iraq executed at least 120 people in 2009 and sentenced at least 1,129 people to death the same year, which was more than any other country other than China.