Interestingly enough, even though our society has considerably evolved over the past few millennia, slightly over 60% of the world’s population currently lives in areas where the capital punishment is legal. In spite of the numerous efforts of international organizations (Amnesty International, for instance) to abolish the death sentence worldwide, the supporters of the practice claim that this is an effective tool for keeping crime under control and that it prevents convicts from engaging in illicit behaviors once they are out of jail.
While it is indubitably a severe violation of the human rights, plenty of modern countries view the capital punishment as the best way to prevent similar atrocities from being reoccurring. Let’s review the top 10 crimes for which you can be sentenced to death nowadays.
In spite of the fact that criminal law has yet to find the optimal definition of terrorism, it is safe to assume that any act involving the use of terror as a mean of coercion could be punishable by death. For the time being, the term has a certain emotional charge and is associated with the tragic event of 9/11 – or, more recently the Boston bombing – as well as several other shocking events in Europe.
2. Child pornography
Sadly enough, child pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry and the fastest growing black market segment worldwide. Even though not until long ago, possessors of media files depicting children in sexually explicit content could avoid prosecution by distributing the movies and pictures across the border, numerous countries have worked together and managed to arrest several suspects from a number of countries in the past several years. Most of the individuals found guilty of pedophilia and child pornography have received the maximum penalty, including chemical castration and the death sentence.
3. Child trafficking
The recruitment of children for the purpose of exploitation is considered a severe felony irrespective of whether the trafficker used force, abducted, deceived, abused power or benefited from the vulnerability of the child. More often than not, these kids are taken away from their families in order to force them into prostitution and child pornography. However, recent statistics show that children are also abducted to be brainwashed and trained as soldiers, child camel jockeys (in certain Arabic countries), begging and organ removal. This is essentially why anyone committing this crime should receive the capital punishment.
4. Drug trafficking
It is important to note that currently there are two types of drug trafficking; the legal version implies distribution and sale of substances subjected under prohibition laws, whereas the illegal drug trade is accounted as one of the factors that can be directly linked to other crimes, such as murder and robbery. Even though you might think that drug-related crimes are specific to third world countries, the truth is that they are just as extensive in the Western civilization. This is why the felony is taken very serious by the authorities and is punishable by death in some countries.
5. Dowry murders
Murdering the new bride in order to force her family’s hand to pay additional dowry is a very common crime in the Arabic world as well as India and – in extremely rare cases – in the Western civilizations. As you probably guessed, due to the culture and traditions of these nations setting the bride ablaze is a relatively delicate topic that some view as murder, while others perceive it as their birth right over the bride. Nonetheless, even though in traditional countries the act is punishable by imprisonment, the efforts of various organizations might finally make this crime a felony punishable by death.
6. Hijacking vehicles of public transportation
Even though they might seem exciting to see in a Hollywood blockbuster, hijacking is nothing more than a modern term for piracy. To put it simply, it implies seizing a vehicle – a plane, ship, truck, etc. – by threat or use of force. While this was considered a felony punishable by prison time because it jeopardized the lives of the passengers, the crime reached a new level and can result in the capital punishment after the 9/11 attacks.
Arson implies deliberately setting fire to another person’s property, particularly the habitable facility. In general, setting fire to an unoccupied building is not considered arson in criminal law because the facility is not legally a residence. Regardless of whether the arsonist wanted to collect a sum of cash from the insurance, planed to destroy property or kill the inhabitants, arson is a felony for which you could receive imprisonment or the death sentence.
8. Robbery with murder
Even though the terms seem to be synonymous, the truth is that robbery is different from theft due to the use of force to intimidate the victim. Depriving a person of a property permanently is an unlawful act that is usually punished based on whether the robber has a lethal weapon or if he has injured the victim. However, when the victim is murdered because the thief tries to protect himself from anyone he considers a threat, then it becomes a crime that could receive the capital punishment.
9. Rape with brutal murder
Rape refers to a type of sexual assault when one or more individuals initiate sexual intercourse with a person without his/her consent. It is necessary to mention that this crime can be committed by both physical force and coercion as well as authority abuse. As if the act itself was not enough to leave the victim psychologically traumatized, if it is followed by murder rape becomes an offense that could be punished by a death sentence.
While often confused with manslaughter, it is necessary to mention that murder represents an act of killing another human being with malice aforethought or, most widely known premeditation. Because the death of the person causes tremendous grief for individuals who were close to the victim and affects the good order within society, murderers will receive very harsh punishments, such as life in prison or the capital punishment in some countries. On a side note, crimes committed for the purpose of self-defense are debatable and don’t involve the death sentence.