Since times immemorial, humans have been made to pay for their folly either by divine intervention or even by the often moral, sometimes immoral undertaking of fellow homo sapiens. For criminals of the world convicted of crimes heinous enough to earn for themselves the ultimate punishment of inflicted death, the end has not been easy. Though in the modern times, there are attempts made through laws and legislations to ease the torture associated with death brought upon by deliberation, but by and large, the many methods of capital punishment still tend to be shuddering enough, not maybe in the gory details but at least the frightening prospect of awaiting death. While the ancient times had been witness to particularly macabre methods of execution, death inmates of today are somewhat ‘luckier’. Nevertheless, the manner in which deaths are executed continue to be a brutal reminder of the pain that any wrong will someday lead to. Here’s depicting what death punishment entails for convicts today in different parts of the world-
The most common mode of executing death punishment in many parts of the world, hanging is a method of execution that brings death to the accused by suspension by the neck. There exists three methods of judicial hanging- that of the short drop, he standard drop and the long drop. The long drop is the most commonly used method today, which despite its apparently simple premise involves too many technicalities. The convicts are weighed before their execution to determine the length of the drop that would bring them quick death by breaking of the neck. Iran leads the world in the number of executions effected by hanging, though the country most commonly resorts to the usage of cranes to publicly hang the condemned.
One of the more humane methods of inflicting death on capital convicts, lethal injection was developed in the United States and today finds usage in a number of countries including China, Thailand, Guatemala, Taiwan, the Maldives, Nigeria, and Vietnam. The death of the person is brought about by administering three drug chemicals that cause the person to become unconscious, stops their breathing, and causes a heart arrhythmia, in that order. Sodium pentotal, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride are the chemicals used to inject what is a fatal dose of drugs into the death row inmate which, despite its seemingly foolproof derivation of science, has still been subject to considerable errors.
In the realm of human deaths effected by execution, shooting can encompass a range of forms. Also one of the more common modes of execution followed in almost 70 countries of the world, shooting by a single shot or a single machine gun has been the prevalent techniques but shooting by firing squads today is one of the most preferred forms of it. Typically involving the prisoner strapped either to a chair or a pole with a black hood pulled over the head, this method of execution sees the firing squad, usually a group of no less than five shooters, take aim at the heart from some 20 feet away.
In Indonesia though where shooting by firing squad is the exclusive method of execution, the blindfolded prisoner is shot at by twelve armed executioners, surviving even which sees the convict being shot at the head directly by the commander. If at times however the shooters tend to miss their target, whether by accident or even in intention, the prisoner can bleed to death slowly. Sometimes called fusillading in the past, execution by firing squads had been particularly common in the military and in times of war.
One of the most known about methods of execution that has found mass usage since ancient times, beheading today is a capital punishment technique followed only in Saudi Arabia. Permissible under the law also in Yemen and Qatar but not practised presently in either, beheading in the earlier times was most commonly executed in the form of guillotine. In present day Saudi Arabia though, the beheadings are performed publicly with a sword by an executioner donning white. Even the condemned typically wears white and is blindfolded, handcuffed and often given a sedative before having their head severed.
Once used invariably throughout the United States, electrocution as a method of inflicting death punishment is today becoming less and less common because of how painfully torturous it happens to be. Even in the US where the electric chair has long been a symbol of the death penalty, it is the more acceptable norm of lethal injection that today gains precedence, either exclusively or at least as a primary choice. However, neither of the methods has been able to be devised to come across as foolproof but even then executing by electrocution still is more brutal than the death brought about by injecting doses of lethal chemicals.
Electrocution involves the prisoner’s head and legs completely shaved off after which he is strapped to a chair and a metal skullcap-shaped electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead over a sponge moistened with saline. The blindfolded victim is then repeatedly administered jolts of between 500 and 2000 volts until he is declared dead. The first jolt of electric current is administered as a more powerful one, intended to cause immediate unconsciousness, ventricular fibrillation, and eventual cardiac arrest. While the second, less powerful jolt is intended to cause fatal damage to the vital organs leading to final demise of the person.
Suggested as a new way to carry out capital punishment, nitrogen hypoxia is a form of asphyxiation resulting from breathing pure nitrogen gas in the absence of oxygen, or a low amount of oxygen leading therefore to death. Not however a tried and tested method of inflicting death, nitrogen asphyxiation is sought only to be employed as a means of execution in cases where the primary mode of execution that is lethal injection cannot be implemented due to various reasons. Abandoned now after concerns arose of its effectiveness due to the untested and unproven premises of it, nitrogen hypoxia might still come to rule the regime of inflicted death due to it harbouring the probability of being at least as effective as any of the other nodes of execution.
A method of capital punishment practiced since centuries, stoning or lapidation arose more as a means of death rooted in traditional systems of morality rather than in legal drawings. In recent times however, stoning has been a legal or customary punishment in the Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Qatar, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, northern Nigeria, Afghanistan, Brunei, and tribal parts of Pakistan where it holds also particular importance for religious conservatives due to their scriptural origin. Iran in particular advocates stoning as a method of death for those committing adultery as is also recently supported by the nation of Brunei, the latter becoming therefore the first Southeast Asian country which officially adopts public stoning as a judicial form of punishment. Legal stoning sentences though continue to be a part of the realm of other equally torturous modes of execution in the country of Saudi Arabia as well as in the United Arab Emirates even when it is condemned by human rights organisations across the world.
As a method of execution, immurement has been an established practice that led to death of people in the ancient times. Quite simply, it is death brought about by a denial to basic food and drink, induced therefore by the conditions of starvation or dehydration. Under immurement, a person is imprisoned until death, usually in a tightly enclosed space from where there is no escape, for instance, a coffin. One of the last cases of immurement is supposed to be a 1903 incident in Marrakesh though individual instances of the same might be attested or alleged from numerous other parts of the world as well as a less gory but no less torturous mode of capital punishment.
Falling is a method of execution that involves throwing or dropping people from great heights, causing them therefore to die through injuries caused by hitting the ground with tremendous force at high speeds. Used since ancient times and finding some expression also in the modern age, particularly in the scenario of wars where captured enemy soldiers are dropped to their death from airplanes or helicopters into oceans, rivers or mountains, falling as a mode of executing death punishment however has been reported even in the 21st century from the nations of Iran and Iraq.