Punishable by Death: Capital Punishment Laws Worldwide

The death penalty is one of those things that will split any group of people. It’s something that everyone has their opinion on and something that easily divides groups, whether they are conservative or liberal. We are led to believe that the former wants capital punishment and the latter fights against it, but that’s not always the case.

I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of it though. That’s a wormhole I don’t want to go down. But I do want to point out some strange and concerning laws regarding capital punishment around the world.


In China, they don’t mess around with the death penalty. If you’re sentenced to death then there are no months of trials and waiting around on death row. You can be put in front of a firing squad with weeks, if not days. This is true of murderers, rapists and even of a government official who allowed dangerous counterfeit medicine to infiltrate the county’s healthcare system.

This strict stance is not seen throughout the Chinese territories and in Hong Kong they actually abolished the death penalty in 1993, commuting all sentences to life imprisonment.


Here in the UK, the death penalty has not existed since the 1960s, at least not for murder. You could face the death penalty for treason, sedition and espionage until 1998, but unless anything was happening behind the scenes (we’ve all seen James Bond) then this has not happened since the last person was hung for murder.


Often seen as a progressive country, there is no death penalty in Denmark. However, if you commit regicide, then you better get yourself a good law firm because there is a minimum life sentence term for this act. If that’s the minimum, I’d hate to see what the maximum was.

You can also get a minimum term of 5 years for murder (the actual term will likely be much higher and could be life); 1 year for carrying a gun; and 4 years for arson that results in death.


In India, it seems like the only way you could end up with a death penalty is if you initially have a life sentence and then you commit a murder in prison. They’ve taken the “where do we go from here” to the extreme, but it does mean that prisoners serving full life terms will not be able to kill with impunity.