The 5 Worst Capital Punishment Countries

 The 5 Worst Capital Punishment Countries

At this writing 58 countries around the globe practice capital punishment. Some are more enthusiastic about it than others. In 2013 the 5 countries that executed to most people were, in order of numbers executed;

  1. China
  2. Iran
  3. Iraq
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. United States

Let’s examine the 5 Worst Capital Punishment Countries in more detail to better understand just what is going on.


  • per capita rate of execution – 1 in 446,000
  • methods of execution include lethal injection and firing squad
  • There are about 68 crimes punishable by death in China, including some drug offences, and many non-violent and white-collar crimes such as tax fraud, bribery, embezzlement, arson and prostitution.

Capital punishment is said to have widespread support in the PRC with few who vocally oppose it. The actual number of people that the government puts to death is a ‘state secret.’

While there are fewer crimes now that are capital, there continues to be strong public support for the use of the death penalty in crimes of a violent nature.

Some of the more notable include arson, bribery, drug trafficking and rape of a person under the age of 14.

In 1949 the Communist Party rose to power in the PRC. The party itself is officially atheist. And dictates what religious practices are permitted within the country.

Currently the US Department of State does NOT discourage US citizens from travelling to China.


The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safe.



  • per capita rate of execution – 1 in 110,000
  • methods of execution include hanging, firing squad and stoning
  • Crimes punishable by death include armed robbery,treason, murder, drug trafficking, rape, pedophilia, sodomy, kidnapping, and terrorism.

Of the 5 countries under consideration, Iran has the highest per capita rate of execution. Of late Iran has been executing about one person a day. And three fourths of all recent executions have been related to drug trafficking.

Iran is the 18th largest country in the world and has about 77 million inhabitants. As such it is the second largest Middle Eastern country. Shia Islam is the official state religion. In general, public opinion supports capital punishment.

Critics claim that a significant number of executions in Iran are secret. Iran is also said to have a high incidence of juvenile executions. Despite having signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Iran frequently executes people emass. The current ‘record’ occurred when 38 people were executed on 15 July and 2 August 2007, including 16 in public; 4 of which were televised. Photographs taken at some executions seem to show spectators enjoying the show.

A 2013 report on international execution issued by Amnesty International stated that “Generally, reporting on death sentences is incomplete due to a lack of comprehensive data, especially from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.” What happening there that the rest of the world never hears about??

Currently the US Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran.


The threat of execution is an effective strategy in preventing terrorist attacks.



  • per capita rate of execution – 1 in 274,000
  • methods of execution include hanging and firing squad
  • Iraqi law imposes the death penalty for 48 crimes

In our 5 country sampling, Iraq has the second highest per capita incidence of execution. Of their 36 million inhabitants 97% are Islamic. The public is said to “overwhelmingly” support capital punishment.

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the US suspended capital punishment there. It was declared that “the former regime used certain provisions of the penal code as a means of oppression, in violation of internationally acknowledged human rights.”

Currently Iraq along with Iran and Saudi Arabia are responsible for 80% of the worlds executions. These 3 countries are heavily influenced by Islamic tradition.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation.


The death penalty is fine as long as the majority of the public supports it.



  • per capita rate of execution – 1 in 359,000
  • methods of execution includes decapitation and stoning
  • The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, false prophecy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery,witchcraft and sorcery

Saudi Arabia is a middle eastern country with an absolute monarchy form of government. And the world’s 13th largest country. The 21 million Saudi residents are Muslim –  by law.

Being the world’s largest exporter of petroleum gives the country a powerful lever, not the least of which is used for maintaining its civil and human rights policies.

Saudi law provides for the death penalty as punishment for 22 crimes. Of those, 10 are laws governing morality. Capital punishment is frequently extended to foreigners.

The National Society for Human Rights reports that about 1 in every 4 children are abused and nearly half face some sort of domestic violence.

Currently the US Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Saudi Arabia.


All people who are executed have been proven guilty of serious crimes.



  • per capita rate of execution – 1 in 8,000,000
  • methods of execution hanging, gas chamber, electrocution, firing squad and lethal injection
  • death penalties vary from state to state, most for murder and treason

Capital punishment is limited in the United States by the 8th amendment to the US Constitution. As of this writing, execution is a legal penalty in 32 of the 50 states. To date the state of Texas has executed the most people and Oklahoma has the highest per capita rate of execution.

Afro Americans make up 41 percent of the current death row inmates. And12 percent of the general population. Since 1987 80 percent of those executed were for murders involving white victims.

A recent poll showed 62% of Americans in favor of the death penalty. Currently the US is the only G8 country to administer capital punishment.

Currently the US Department of State has no opinion about US citizens travelling about in their own country.


Relatives of murder victims demand capital punishment.

Collectively, these 5 countries were responsible for 95% of all executions in 2013. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran execute persons for crimes committed while they were juveniles. And Iran extends capital punishment to those living in foreign countries.

Barbaric huh?? And homo sapiens are evolving??

Written by James Bradrick

James Bradrick left the sun and surf of southern Mexico to blog and write about civil and human rights issues from San Diego CA.

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