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Punishments

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Society and lifestyle

Capital punishment in the United States

Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the United States, currently used by 31 states, the federal government, and the military. Its existence can be traced to the beginning of the American colonies. The United States is the only Western country currently applying the death penalty, one of 54 countries worldwide applying it, and was the first to develop lethal injection as a method of execution, which has since been adopted by five other countries.

Society and lifestyle

Capital punishment

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, treason, espionage, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Etymologically, the term capital in this context alluded to execution by beheading.

Society and lifestyle, Health

Decapitation

Decapitation is the complete separation of the head from the body. Such an injury is fatal to humans and most animals, since it deprives all other organs of the involuntary functions that are needed for the body to function, while the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood and blood pressure.

Society and lifestyle

Suicide by hanging

Suicide by hanging is the act of intentionally killing oneself via suspension from an anchor-point or ligature point by a ligature or by jumping from a height with a noose around the neck.

Society and lifestyle

Crucifixion of Jesus

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

Society and lifestyle

Hanging

Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose or ligature around the neck. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain "hanging". Hanging has been a common method of capital punishment since medieval times, and is the primary execution method in numerous countries and regions. The first account of execution by hanging was in Homer's Odyssey. In this specialised meaning of the common word hang, the past and past participle is hanged instead of hung.

Society and lifestyle

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted persons are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural life or until paroled. Crimes for which, in some countries, a person could receive this sentence include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, blasphemy, apostasy, terrorism, severe child abuse, rape, child rape, espionage, treason, high treason, drug dealing, drug trafficking, drug possession, human trafficking, severe cases of fraud, severe cases of financial crimes, aggravated criminal damage in English law, and aggravated cases of arson, kidnapping, burglary, or robbery which result in death or grievous bodily harm, piracy, aircraft hijacking, and in certain cases genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, certain war crimes or any three felonies in case of three strikes law. Life imprisonment can also be imposed, in certain countries, for traffic offenses causing death. The life sentence does not exist in all countries, and Portugal was the first to abolish life imprisonment, in 1884.

Society and lifestyle

Blood eagle

The blood eagle is a ritualized method of execution, detailed in late skaldic poetry. According to the two instances mentioned in the Sagas, the victims were placed in a prone position, their ribs severed from the spine with a sharp tool, and their lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of “wings”. There is continuing debate about whether the ritual was a literary invention, a mistranslation of the original texts, or an authentic historical practice.

Society and lifestyle

Execution by firing squad

Execution by firing squad, in the past sometimes called fusillading, is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war. Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice. Some reasons for its use are that firearms are usually readily available and a gunshot to a vital organ usually kills relatively quickly.

Society and lifestyle

Lynching

Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group. It is an extreme form of informal group social control such as charivari, skimmington, riding the rail, and tarring and feathering, and often conducted with the display of a public spectacle for maximum intimidation. It is to be considered an act of terrorism and punishable by law. Instances of lynchings and similar mob violence can be found in every society.

Society and lifestyle

Lynching of Jesse Washington

Jesse Washington was a black teenage farmhand who was lynched in the county seat of Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916, in what became a well-known example of racially motivated lynching. Washington was convicted of raping and murdering Lucy Fryer, the wife of his white employer in rural Robinson, Texas. He was dragged out of the county court by observers and lynched in front of Waco's city hall. Over 10,000 spectators, including city officials and police, gathered to watch the attack. There was a celebratory atmosphere among whites at the spectacle murder, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers, and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire for about two hours. After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco.

Society and lifestyle

Execution of Saddam Hussein

The execution of Saddam Hussein took place on Saturday, 30 December 2006. Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging, after being convicted of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites in the town of Dujail in 1982, in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him.

Society and lifestyle

Crucifixion

Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation.

Society and lifestyle

Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia

Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Saudi Arabia. The country performed at least 158 executions in 2015, at least 154 executions in 2016, and at least 146 executions in 2017.

Society and lifestyle

Breaking wheel

The breaking wheel or execution wheel, also known as the Catherine wheel or simply the Wheel, was a torture method used for public execution from antiquity through Middle Ages into early modern times by breaking a criminal's bones and/or bludgeoning them to death. As a form of agonizing execution and deterrence, it was used from the medieval period into the early modern period; the practice was completely abolished in Bavaria in 1813, in the Electorate of Hesse it was still in use until 1836. The last known execution by the "Wheel" took place in Prussia in 1841. In the Holy Roman Empire, it was a "mirror punishment" for highwaymen and street thieves but was already provisioned in the Sachsenspiegel also for murder and arson.