While Executed Today does not aspire to walk the daily news beat, our eight-plus years on the scene have tracked an ample quantity of hangings, shootings, injections, and beheadings around the world, truly enough that this site really could subsist on those literally executed today.
In fact recent years have only brought us growing quantities of material.
Amnesty International‘s annual count of executions — which notably excludes the unobtainium of secretive China — records a distinct upward trajectory for executions* in the present decade notwithstanding the organization’s repeated assertions of a “global trend towards abolition”:
Though China is number one with an annual butcher’s bill thought to number in the thousands, the vast majority of these countable executions come from just three countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, the latter of whom went wild in 2015 with over 300 hangings after a terrorist outrage led it to break a years-long death penalty moratorium. Even so, Amnesty allows of 2015 that “at least six countries who had not put anyone to death in 2014 did so in 2015, including Chad where executions were carried out for the first time in more than a decade.”
One could easily overstate the point. There are certainly moves away from the death penalty in many places, and the footprint of the few largest users is so great that the “worldwide trend” as measured by the aggregate essentially reflects the chance local prerogatives of only a handful of polities. Still, it’s clear that the executioner won’t be exiting the human comedy any time soon. As this piece goes to publication in May 2016, Egypt’s military dictatorship is considering hanging three journalists (and, still, the former president it deposed); there’s a new president-elect in the Philippines who has vowed to reinstate capital punishment after a 16-year abeyance; Indonesia has just now widened its death penalty to include child rape; and Israel’s incoming governing coalition is openly mooting the pleasures of executing Palestinians. (Up to this point, Israel has only judicially executed one guy in its whole history: Adolf Eichmann.)
For the next few days, we’ll be unabashedly ripping from the headlines — trying to salvage for the record just a few of the many thousands who have trod our path right under our very noses.
May 26, 2011: Mehdi Farahj (Iran)
May 27, 2013: Orelesitse Thokamolelo (Botswana)
May 28, 2015: A day in the death penalty around the world (China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia)
May 29, 2013: Elmer Carroll (United States)
* Note that Amnesty’s reported figure for any single year can vary slightly in different reports over time as its data develops.