Though the list is complete in terms of reported official execution counts, it still cannot be considered completely accurate nor comprehensive. There might be other countries carrying out executions at a rate which qualifies them to be placed within this list. However, a lack of public data from such countries as China and North Korea, with legalized capital punishment methods and allegedly high rates of using them, makes it difficult to decide the placement of these and other countries on the list. Even while several multinational organizations, including a number of United Nations affiliates and Amnesty International, cry out for an end to state-mandated executions, in some of the countries carrying them out with greatest frequency, capital punishment rates in fact appear to be on the rise. It is also interesting to note the United States of America is the only Western country to earn a place on this list.
10. Equatorial Guinea (9 reported executions in 2014)
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a small country in central Africa with high rates of executions. In 2014, 9 cases of executions were reported in the country. Hanging is the preferred method of execution within the civil courts of this country, while shooting by firing squads is more common in military courts. One of the largest numbers of annual executions in the country were carried out in 2003, with a count of 22 convicts being put to death that year.
9. Jordan (11 reported executions in 2014)
Before the imposition of a moratorium on the death penalty in 2006, Jordan had executed 41 individuals between 2000 and 2006. Though the country imposed the moratorium on the death penalty between 2006 and 2014, the same was lifted in 2014, on the account of public demand to handle growing numbers of criminal cases within the country by using the death penalty to serve as a fearful warning for prospective offenders. In December of 2014, 11 men that had been convicted of murder in 2005 and 2006 were subjected to 'death by hanging' in Jordan. On February 4, 2015, two individuals convicted of being terrorists and held responsible for the death of a Jordanian pilot, were also hanged to death.
8. Somalia (14 reported executions in 2014)
In Somalia, executions are quite common, and shooting is the most preferred method of serving the death penalty there. However, other methods of execution, though rare, such as beheading and stoning to death, have also been practiced at some point or other in the country’s recent history. As per reports, Somalia executed at least 14 individuals in 2014, with the Somalian per capita execution rate in that year being 1 execution per 700,000 persons. In 2015, as per media reports, around 13 additional executions were carried out in the country, with the per capita execution rate in 2013 being even higher at 1 execution per 445,454 persons.
7. Egypt (15 reported executions in 2014)
Capital punishment has been prevalent in Egypt since the ancient Egyptian civilization,when the death penalty was often meted out to offenders committing serious crimes, like murder, theft, spying, and attacks on the Pharaoh. Currently, this most dreaded form of punishment in Egypt is reserved for those committing crimes under the nation's anti-terrorism legislation, as well as for those convicted of premeditated murder, rape, and drug-related offenses. Hanging and shooting by firing squad are the two primary methods of execution in the country. 2014 was a much discussed year in terms of Egyptian judicial decisions, as the same year saw an Egyptian judge sentence 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to the death penalty, and confirmed the death sentence of 37 of the group's 529 previously mentioned condemned supporters. Also, at least 15 executions were carried out in the country in 2014, with the per capita execution rate there standing at around 1 execution per 2,041,879 adult persons last year.
6. Yemen (22 reported executions in 2014)
Yemen is one of the few countries in the world where execution of minors is allowed under the country’s laws. A wide variety of criminal cases, involving murder, rape, and terrorism alike, as well as cases of Islamic law offenses, like adultery, sexual misconduct, prostitution, homosexuality, or apostasy, might lead to capital punishments for the offenders. Yemen is also one of the few states that still allows for the performance of public executions. Shooting and stoning to death are the most popular methods of execution in this country. The President of Yemen reserves the right to ratify every execution before it is implemented by the courts. As per reported cases, at least 22 executions were carried out in Yemen in 2014, with the per capita execution rate being 1 execution per 1,010,478 persons.
5. Sudan (23 reported executions in 2014)
The Republic of Sudan uses a number of methods to carry out its executions, including hanging, stoning to death, and also crucifixion in certain cases. At times, the offender’s body is beheaded and hung in public view to draw attention to the crime and its punishment. There were at least 23 cases of reported executions in Sudan in 2014, with the per capita execution rate in that year being 1 execution per 1,670,981 persons.
4. USA (35 reported executions in 2014)
It is important to note that, among the nations of the Western world, the United States of America (U.S.A) is the only country to feature on this list. In the U.S.A., the death penalty is a legal sentence in 31 states of the country. The application of this form of punishment is limited by the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which allows only aggravated murders committed by mentally sane adults to be fit for the death sentence trials in the country. In 2014, there were a staggering number of executions in the country, with the official record mentioning 35 executions. In 2015, 28 inmates were executed in the country, while 2,984 remained on 'death row'. The state of Texas ranks the highest in terms of the number of executions performed so far in the country.
3. Iraq (61 reported executions in 2014)
Hanging is the preferred method of execution in Iraq, while shooting by a firing squad is also recognized as a legal method of execution. The United Nations Human Rights Committee confirmed that more than 1,700 prisoners were on death row in Iraq in November of 2015. 92 more death penalties were assigned by the courts in the country in 2016, raising the number to 1,816. As per reports, 61 executions were carried out in Iraq in 2014, with the per capita execution rate being 1 execution per 561,666 persons.
2. Saudi Arabia (90 reported executions in 2014)
In 2015, at least 157 executions were carried out in Saudi Arabia, which is much higher than the 90 reported cases of execution in the previous year. Among these executions, 40% were administered based on drug-related offenses, with 63 of these 90 people being subjected to death after being convicted in cases revolving around drugs. The use of capital punishment, often involving public beheadings, in the country has been the subject of much condemnation in the international realm. Foreigners, especially those formerly belonging to the developing nations, are also not spared, and in fact these accounted for nearly 50% of the cases of Saudi executions in 2013. However, there has been, as of yet, no reports of a Western national being executed in Saudi Arabia. A wide range of offenses, like murder, rape, drug use, adultery, witchcraft, sorcery, and apostasy, can qualify one for the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. The last reported execution associated with sorcery was reported in August of 2014. Public beheadings are by far the most common method of execution, while scattered cases of stoning and shooting by firing squad have also been reported.
1. Iran (289 reported executions in 2014)
As difficult as it may be to believe, as per reports, Iranian authorities are believed to have executed 694 people in the country between January 1 and July 15, 2015, equivalent to executing over 3 persons per day in the same time frame. That figure is much higher than the 289 reported cases of executions in 2014. However, figures are deceptive, and the 2014 figures were likely to be much higher than that which was reported. Despite a 2008 moratorium on public executions, hanging in public continues to be commonly used in Iran. Only 60 confirmed cases of public executions were reported in 2012, indicating the practice is on the rise. Shooting, though used previously, is not commonly used today. Even though moratoriums on stoning were established in 2002 and 2008, scattered reports of public stoning executions in Iran have been reported over the more recent years. While men are usually buried to their waists in stoning pits, allowing them greater chances of escape and thus termination of the penalty, women are buried up to their necks, subjecting them to sure death.
Which Country Executes the Most People?
Iran executes the most people, followed by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the United States.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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