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Capital Punishment

  • Date Submitted: 01/31/2015 10:19 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 32 
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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 enforcement is an execution. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offenses. 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 practiced by most societies, as a punishment for criminals, and political or religious dissidents. Historically, the carrying out of the death sentence was often accompanied by torture, and executions were most often public.[2]
Currently 58 nations actively practice capital punishment, 98 countries have abolished it de jure for all crimes, 7 have abolished it for ordinary crimes only (maintain it for special circumstances such as war crimes), and 35 have abolished it de facto (have not used it for at least ten years and/or are under moratorium).[3] Amnesty International considers most countries abolitionist; overall, the organisation considers 140 countries to be abolitionist in law or practice.[3] About 90% of all executions in the world take place in Asia.[4]
Nearly all countries in the world prohibit the execution of individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes; since 2009, only Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan have carried out such executions.[5] Executions of this kind are prohibited under international law.[5]
Capital punishment 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.[6] The Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, also prohibits the use of the death penalty by its...

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