Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies—both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. Execution of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense is called capital punishment or death penalty. In most places that practice capital punishment it is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and sodomy, carry the death penalty. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking, corruption, cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny are also capital offenses. Most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system. Not being some kind of racist here, but some methods of execution were quite a lot brutal which I have listed below.[WARNING: The article may contain some disturbing images]
The garrote very common once, is no longer sanctioned by law in any country though training in its use is still carried out in the French Foreign Legion. The garrote is a device that strangles a person to death. It can also be used to break a person’s neck. The device was used in Spain until it was outlawed in 1978 with the abolition of the death penalty. It normally consisted of a seat in which the prisoner was restrained while the executioner tightened a metal band around his neck until he died. Some versions of the garrote incorporated a metal bolt which pressed in to the spinal chord, breaking the neck. The victim may pass into a state of severe and painful convulsions and then pass into death. This spiked version is known as the Catalan garrote. The last execution by garrote was José Luis Cerveto in October 1977. Andorra was the last country in the world to outlaw its use, doing so in 1990. However garroting is still common in India according Indian author and forensic expert Parikh.
Scaphism, also known as the boats was an ancient Persian method of execution designed to inflict torturous death. The naked person was firmly fastened within a back-to-back pair of narrow rowing boats (or a hollowed-out tree trunk), with the head, hands, and feet protruding. The condemned was forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of developing severe diarrhea, and more honey would be rubbed on his body in order to attract insects to the exposed appendages. He or she would then be left to float on a stagnant pond or be exposed to the sun. The defenseless individual’s feces accumulated within the container, attracting more insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed and increasingly gangrenous flesh. The feeding would be repeated each day in some cases to prolong the torture, so that dehydration or starvation did not provide him or her with the release of death. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock. Delirium would typically set in after a few days. Death by scaphism was painful, humiliating, and protracted.
Flaying is the removal of skin from the body. Like an animal is flayed in preparation for human consumption, or for its hide or fur; this is more commonly called skinning, flaying is similar method applied onto humans. Flaying of humans was used as both a method of torture and execution, depending on how much of the skin is removed. Flaying is an ancient practice, used by Assyrians and Ming Dynasty.
Also known as slow slicing, Lingchi was reserved for crimes viewed as especially severe, such as treason and killing one’s parents. Also translated as slow process, lingering death or death by a thousand cuts, was a form of execution used in China from roughly AD 900 until its abolition in 1905. The process involved tying the person to be executed to a wooden frame, usually in a public place. The flesh was then cut from the body in multiple slices in a process that was not specified in detail in Chinese law and therefore most likely varied. In later times, opium was sometimes administered either as an act of mercy or as a way of preventing fainting. The punishment worked on three levels: as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death, and as a punishment after death. In variable forms, it also involved dismemberment i.e cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs of the condemned.
6. Breaking Wheel
Breaking wheel or the Catherine wheel was a torture device used for capital punishment in the Middle Ages and early modern times for public execution by cudgelling to death. It was used during the Middle Ages and was still in use into the 19th century. Breaking on the wheel was a form of torturous execution formerly in use in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Russia, the US, and other countries. The wheel was typically a large wooden wagon wheel with many radial spokes, but a wheel was not always used. In some cases the condemned were lashed to the wheel and beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the cudgel to break through. Alternatively, the condemned were spreadeagled and broken on a St Andrew’s cross consisting of two wooden beams nailed in an “X” shape, after which the victim’s mangled body might be displayed on the wheel.
5. Brazen Bull
Brazen Bull or the Sicilian Bull is a execution device designed in ancient Greece. Perillos of Athens, a brass-founder, proposed to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, the invention of a new means for executing criminals. Accordingly, he cast a bull, made entirely of brass, hollow, with a door in the side. The condemned were shut in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became yellow hot and causing the person inside to roast to death. The bull was designed in such a way that its smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense. The head of the ox was designed with a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner’s screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an infuriated bull. It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the scorched bones of the remains shone like jewels and were made into bracelets.
Disembowelment or evisceration is the removing of some or all of the vital organs, usually from the abdomen. On humans, as a method of death penalty, it is fatal in all cases. It has historically been used as a severe form of capital punishment. The last organs to be removed were invariably the heart and lungs so as to keep the condemned alive (and in pain) as long as possible. Disembowelment played a part as a method of execution and ritual suicides once in Japan.
Where the victim is dipped in a big bowl. This method was used in Russia and Europe 3000 years ago and they used oil, acid or water. This type is considered slow and extremely painful. This penalty was carried out using a large cauldron filled with water, oil, tar, tallow or even molten lead. Sometimes the victim was immersed, the liquid then being heated, or he was plunged into the already boiling contents, usually head first. The executioner could then help speed their demise by means of a large hook with which he sank the person deeper. An alternative method was to use a large shallow receptacle rather than a cauldron; oil, tallow or pitch then being poured in. The victim was then partially immersed in the liquid and fried to death.
Now here is probably the most painful and interesting death method. Impalement as a method of execution involves a person being pierced with a long stake. The penetration could be through the sides, through the rectum, through the vagina, or through the mouth. This method leads to a painful death, sometimes taking days. The stake would often be planted in the ground, leaving the impaled person suspended to die. In some forms of impalement, the stake would be inserted so as to avoid immediate death, and would function as a plug to prevent blood loss. After preparation of the victim, perhaps including public torture and rape, the victim was stripped and an incision was made in the perineum between the genitals and rectum. A stout pole with a blunt end was inserted. A blunt end would push vital organs to the side, greatly slowing death. The pole would often come out of the body at the top of the sternum and be placed against the lower jaw so that the victim would not slide farther down the pole. Often, the victim was hoisted into the air after partial impalement. Gravity and the victim’s own struggles would cause him to slide down the pole. This method is extremely painful and was used by Neo-Assyrian Empire, Greek empire, and Roman Empire.
1. Drawing and Quartering
To be hanged, drawn and quartered was the penalty for high treason in medieval England, and remained on the statute book but seldom used in the United Kingdom and Ireland until abolished under the Treason Act of 1814. It was a spectacularly gruesome and public form of torture and execution, and was reserved only for this most serious crime, which was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital offences. It was applied only to male criminals, except on the Isle of Man. Women found guilty of treason were sentenced to be taken to a place of execution and burned at the stake, a punishment changed to hanging by the Treason Act of 1790 in Great Britain. First the convict is dragged on a hurdle (a wooden frame) to the place of execution. This is one possible meaning of drawn, then he is hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead. After that he is disembowelled (described above) and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before the condemned’s eyes. Finally the body beheaded and divided into four parts. Typically, the resulting five parts (i.e., the four quarters of the body and the head) were gibbeted (put on public display) in different parts of the city, town, or, in famous cases, in the country, to deter would-be traitors who had not seen the execution.