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Electric chair (Florida Department of Corrections)

Death penalties by country

In 92 countries, there is a death penalty imposed by law. Of these, 8 countries apply the death penalty only to particularly serious crimes such as, war crimes. It has also been discontinued in 28 countries for at least 10 years - although there can still be penalties with pending executions.

In 2020 alone, 2400 people were sentenced to death and at least 1475 were actually executed. In addition, there is a larger number of unreported cases from individual countries, which cannot be estimated due to government restrictions.

Death penalties by country in 2020

Execution of the death penalty by country
no death penalty
only on serious crimes
death penatly abolished in practice
death penalty imposed and enforced

The following table contains the countries where a death penalty was legally possible in 2020. All data are provided by Amnesty International, where only registered and evaluated cases have been listed.

CountryStatusExecutionsDeath sentences
Afghanistanactive04
Algeriaabolished in practice01
Antigua and Barbudaactive00
Bahamasactive00
Bahrainactive03
Bangladeshactive2113
Barbadosactive00
Belarusactive03
Belizeactive00
Botswanaactive31
Brazilonly for serious crimes00
Bruneiabolished in practice00
Burkina Fasoonly for serious crimes00
Burmaabolished in practice01
Cameroonabolished in practice01
Central African Republicabolished in practice00
Chileonly for serious crimes00
China*active1,000+1,000+
Comorosactive01
Cubaactive00
Democratic Republic of the Congoactive020
Dominica (2016)active00
Egyptactive107264
El Salvadoronly for serious crimes00
Equatorial Guineaactive00
Eritreaabolished in practice00
Eswatiniabolished in practice00
Ethiopiaactive00
Gambiaactive01
Ghanaabolished in practice03
Grenadaabolished in practice00
Guatemalaonly for serious crimes00
Guyanaactive00
Indiaactive477
Indonesiaactive0117
Iranactive246unknown
Iraqactive4527
Israelonly for serious crimes00
Jamaicaactive00
Japanactive03
Jordanactive02
Kazakhstanonly for serious crimes00
Kenyaabolished in practice0
Kuwaitactive02
Laosabolished in practice09
Lebanonactive01
Lesothoactive00
Liberiaabolished in practice00
Libyaactive017
Malawiabolished in practice02
Malaysiaactive022
Maldivesabolished in practice00
Maliabolished in practice030
Mauritaniaabolished in practice01
Moroccoabolished in practice01
Nigerabolished in practice03
Nigeriaactive058
North Koreaactiveunknownunknown
Omanactive40
Pakistanactive049
Palestineactive017
Papua New Guineaabolished in practice00
Peruonly for serious crimes00
Puerto Ricoactive00
Qataractive14
Russiaabolished in practice00
Saint Kitts and Nevisactive00
Saint Luciaactive00
Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesactive00
Saudi Arabiaactive278
Sierra Leoneabolished in practice039
Singaporeactive08
Somaliaactive11unknown
South Koreaabolished in practice00
South Sudanactive26
Sri Lankaabolished in practice016
Sudanactive010
Syriaactiveunknownunknown
Taiwanactive15
Tajikistanabolished in practice00
Tanzaniaabolished in practice00
Thailandactive035
Tongaabolished in practice00
Trinidad and Tobagoactive02
Tunisiaabolished in practice08
Ugandaactive00
United Arab Emiratesactive04
United Statesactive1718
Vietnamactiveunknown54
Yemenactive5269
Zambiaabolished in practice0119
Zimbabweactive06

* Note on China
The data for China correspond to those of Anmesty International, but at the same time it is pointed out that these are only of a symbolic nature. Due to the secrecy of the actual case figures, it is not possible to give correct values. Amnesty International and other human rights organisations speak of several thousand executions per year.

Death penalty in the United States

Electric chair (Florida Department of Corrections) The legal situation varies among the individual states. The death penalty has been formally abolished in 22 of the 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In other states, it is still imposed but no longer carried out. Independent of state legislatures, federal courts can still impose a death sentence in cases of federal crimes.

Through the media, the electric chair is probably the best-known method of execution in the US. In fact, it has been used only 163 times since 1979. With over 1300 cases, injection of a poison is considerably more common. The state with significantly the most executions in the past 40 years is Texas. It is followed by Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida.

Types of executions

Executions always depend on the laws of the country in question. The most common species since the turn of the millennium:
  • Electric chair (mainly in the USA)
  • Decapitation (mainly in Saudi Arabia)
  • Hanging (mainly Muslim countries, as well as Japan and Singapore)
  • Shooting (USA, China, North Korea, Somalia, Vietnam, etc.)
  • Stoning to death (due to the Islamic Sharia in Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia)
  • Lethal injection or gas chamber (China, USA, Thailand, etc.)