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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Executions → Execution of Nazi War Criminal in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1945)

Execution of Nazi War Criminal in Prague (Czechoslovakia) by hanging in 1945.

Video: Download "hanging_nazi_prague.wmv"

Hanging is the oldest but most widely used method of execution in the world today. At very least, 315 men and 4 women were hanged in ten countries during 2006, many in public. These being, Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan and Singapore. Sadly, many of those hanged in the 21st century have still had to die by strangulation, particularly in Iran. It is estimated that only 137 of the hangings during 2006 used a drop designed to break the prisoner's neck. Iraq seems to have adopted the American style of hanging and it is unclear exactly what method Jordan uses.
Hanging remains the standard method of execution in many retentionist countries, notably Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, several African countries, including Botswana and Zimbabwe, and some Middle Eastern countries including Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait Lebanon and Syria. It is also the lawful method in most Caribbean states and is an option to lethal injection in two states of America, Washington and Delaware, which have carried out a total of 3 hangings since the re-introduction of the death penalty in the U.S. in 1976. It was used extensively in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and continues to be the lawful method there under the new government which has carried out 54 executions during 2006, including that of Saddam Hussein.
Hanging originated as a method of execution in Persia (now Iran) about 2500 years ago for male criminals only, (women were strangled at the stake for the sake of decency!) It was the method of choice in many countries as it produced a highly visible deterrent without the blood and gore of beheading. In early times, it was considered ideal because it was the simplest method to carry out, did not give the condemned person a particularly cruel death (by the standards of the day), made a good public spectacle as the prisoner was above the level of the viewers and because the equipment was easy to come by - a tree, a piece of rope and a ladder or cart, being available everywhere. Later, simple gallows replaced the tree and later still, trapdoors replaced the ladder or cart as a means of getting the person suspended. There is no means of knowing how many people have hanged worldwide in the last 2,000 years but it is probably at least half a million. From 1800 and 1964, some 5,508 people suffered death by hanging in Britain. In America alone, it is estimated that some 13,000 men and 505 women were hanged from the early 1600's up to 1996.
Hanging was the normal form of execution in most countries up to the end of the 19th century when there was a general trend to abolition or to use more humane methods than the type of hanging used at that time (short drop). It was the standard method in Britain and its colonies and was widely used in France prior to the French Revolution and also in Germany and pre-communist Russia. It was the lawful method in all states of America up to 1890 and thereafter in some up until suspension of the death penalty in 1968. It was used by Australia and Canada and New Zealand up to abolition. Hanging was also used by many other countries that have since abolished capital punishment such as Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and South Africa. Hitler reintroduced it to Nazi Germany and very large numbers of prisoners were executed by this method in prisons, concentration camps and in the "field" by German soldiers between 1937 and 1945.

Article: The process of judicial hanging.

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