Bmj Usa: Editor's Choice

State-sanctioned murder

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E179

From BMJ USA 2003;Jan:2

For ages, criminals were put to death by hanging, stoning, and beheading, but most modern nations abandoned such brutality years ago. Not all nations, however. Amnesty International reports that although 222 countries, including almost all Western nations, have eliminated the death penalty (or restrict it to exceptional circumstances), 84 countries continue to kill their citizens, among them the United States. The US ranks fifth in how many people it executes, placing it slightly behind Iran and ahead of Afghanistan.

Since 1976, when the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment, 820 executions have been performed in 32 states. Human rights groups …

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