Hanging

Hanging

Overview
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 and death by impalement
Impalement
Impalement is the traumatic penetration of an organism by an elongated foreign object such as a stake, pole, or spear, and this usually implies complete perforation of the central mass of the impaled body...

 in which the body would remain "hanging".

Hanging oneself is also used to describe a method of suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in which a person applies a ligature to the neck and brings about unconsciousness and then death, by means of partial suspension or partial weight-bearing on the ligature.
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Encyclopedia
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 and death by impalement
Impalement
Impalement is the traumatic penetration of an organism by an elongated foreign object such as a stake, pole, or spear, and this usually implies complete perforation of the central mass of the impaled body...

 in which the body would remain "hanging".

Hanging oneself is also used to describe a method of suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in which a person applies a ligature to the neck and brings about unconsciousness and then death, by means of partial suspension or partial weight-bearing on the ligature. This method has been most often used in prisons or other institutions, where full suspension support is difficult to devise. The earliest known use of the word in this sense was in A.D.
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 1300.

Methods of judicial hanging




There are four ways of performing a judicial hanging – suspension hanging, the short drop, the standard drop, and the long drop. A mechanised form of hanging, the upright jerker
Upright jerker
The upright jerker was an execution method and device intermittently used in the United States during the 19th and early 20th century. Intended to replace hangings, the upright jerker did not see widespread use....

, was also experimented with in the 18th century, with a variant of it used today in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Suspension


Suspension, like the short drop, causes death by using the weight of the body to tighten the trachea with the noose. Prisoners are often reported to have little or no struggle before they go limp, because their jugular vein
Jugular vein
The jugular veins are veins that bring deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava.-Internal and external:There are two sets of jugular veins: external and internal....

 and carotid arteries are blocked and blood flow to the brain is reduced. For example, John Smith
John Smith (housebreaker)
John Smith , also known by the alias John Wilson, was a London housebreaker, most notable for his three evasions of execution. His first evasion granted him the nickname of Half-hanged Smith.-Early life and career:...

 described his pain vanishing after seeing a great blaze of glaring light. The Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 formerly hanged mutineers by hoisting them up from the deck of the ship by their necks, using a rope passing over a yardarm.

Short drop


The short drop is performed by placing the condemned prisoner on the back of a cart, horse, or other vehicle, with the noose around the neck. The object is then moved away, leaving the person dangling from the rope. The condemned prisoner dies of strangulation, which typically takes between ten and twenty minutes. Before 1850, it was the main method. A ladder was also commonly used with the condemned being forced to ascend, after which the noose was tied and the ladder pulled away or turned (hence the colloquial slang for hanging "to be turned off"), leaving the condemned hanging. Another method involves using a stool, which the condemned is required to stand on, being kicked away.

Yet another short drop variant is the Austro-Hungarian "pole" method, in which the condemned is hoisted to the top of a pole approximately 10 feet (3 m) in height via a sling under the armpits, a narrow diameter noose affixed to a hook and the prisoner's neck and the prisoner is rapidly jerked downward by the assistant executioners via a rope attached to the condemned's feet and routed through a pulley in the body of the pole and out the back. The executioner stands on a stepped platform approximately 4 feet (1.2 m) high beside the condemned and guides the head downward with his hand simultaneous to the efforts of his assistants. Unconsciousness is nearly instant, with death occurring via strangulation. Nazi war criminal Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank was a prominent Sudeten German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia prior to and during World War II and an SS-Obergruppenführer...

 was executed in this manner in 1946 in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

.

Standard drop


The standard drop, which arrived as calculated in English units, involves a drop of between 4 and 6 ft (1.2 and 1.8 ) and came into use from 1866, when the scientific details were published by an Irish doctor, Samuel Haughton
Samuel Haughton
Samuel Haughton was an Irish scientific writer.-Biography:He was born in Carlow, the son of James Haughton ....

. Immediately its use spread to English-speaking countries and those where judicial systems had an English origin. It was considered a humane improvement on the short drop because it was intended to be enough to break the person's neck, causing immediate paralysis and immobilization (and probable immediate unconsciousness). This method was used to execute condemned Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 under United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jurisdiction after the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 including Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 and Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

. In the execution of Ribbentrop, historian Giles MacDonogh records that: "The hangman botched the execution and the rope throttled the former foreign minister for twenty minutes before he expired."

Long drop



This process, also known as the measured drop, was introduced to Britain in 1872 by William Marwood
William Marwood
William Marwood was a hangman for the British government. He developed the technique of hanging known as the "long drop".-Early life:Marwood was originally a cobbler, of Church Lane, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England.-Executioner:...

 as a scientific advancement to the standard drop. Instead of everyone falling the same standard distance, the person's height and weight were used to determine how much slack would be provided in the rope so that the distance dropped would be enough to ensure that the neck was broken, but not so much that the person was decapitated. The careful placement of the eye or knot of the noose (so that the head was jerked back as the rope tightened) contributed to breaking the neck predictably.

Prior to 1892, the drop was between four and ten feet (about one to three metres), depending on the weight of the body, and was calculated to deliver a force of 1,260 lbf (5,600 newtons or 572 kgf
KGF
KGF may refer to:*Keratinocyte Growth Factor*King George's Fields A UK set of 471 memorial playing fields and recreation grounds*Kolar Gold Fields*The IATA code for Sary-Arka Airport, Karaganda, Kazakhstan...

), which fractured the neck at either the 2nd and 3rd or 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae
Cervical vertebrae
In vertebrates, cervical vertebrae are those vertebrae immediately inferior to the skull.Thoracic vertebrae in all mammalian species are defined as those vertebrae that also carry a pair of ribs, and lie caudal to the cervical vertebrae. Further caudally follow the lumbar vertebrae, which also...

. However, this force resulted in some decapitation
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

s, such as the infamous case of "Black Jack" Tom Ketchum
Tom Ketchum
Thomas Everard Ketchum , known as Black Jack, was a cowboy who later turned to a life of crime. He was hanged in 1901 for attempted train robbery.-First train robberies and murders:...

 in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 Territory in 1901. Between 1892 and 1913, the length of the drop was shortened to avoid decapitation. After 1913, other factors were also taken into account, and the force delivered was reduced to about 1,000 lbf (4,400 N or 450 kgf). The decapitation of Eva Dugan during a botched hanging in 1930 led the state of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 to switch to the gas chamber
Gas chamber
A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

 as its primary execution method, on the grounds that it was believed more humane. One of the more recent decapitations as a result of the long drop occurred when Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Barzan Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti was one of three half-brothers of Saddam Hussein, and a leader of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service...

 was hanged in Iraq in 2007.

Nazis executed under British jurisdiction, including Josef Kramer
Josef Kramer
Josef Kramer was the Commandant of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Dubbed "The Beast of Belsen" by camp inmates; he was a notorious Nazi war criminal, directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people...

, Fritz Klein
Fritz Klein (Nazi)
Fritz Klein was a German Nazi physician hanged for his role in atrocities at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Holocaust....

, Irma Grese
Irma Grese
Irma Ida Ilse Grese was employed at the Nazi concentration camps of Ravensbrück and Auschwitz, and was a warden of the women's section of Bergen-Belsen....

 and Elisabeth Volkenrath
Elisabeth Volkenrath
Elisabeth Volkenrath was German supervisor at several Nazi concentration camps during World War II....

, were hanged by Albert Pierrepoint
Albert Pierrepoint
Albert Pierrepoint is the most famous member of the family which provided three of the United Kingdom's official hangmen in the first half of the 20th century...

 using the variable drop method devised by William Marwood
William Marwood
William Marwood was a hangman for the British government. He developed the technique of hanging known as the "long drop".-Early life:Marwood was originally a cobbler, of Church Lane, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England.-Executioner:...

.

As suicide



Hanging is a common method for committing suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. The materials necessary for suicide by hanging are easily available to the average person, compared with firearms or lethal poison. It is a very simple yet highly effective suicide method. Full suspension is not required, and for this reason hanging is especially commonplace among suicidal prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

ers (see suicide watch
Suicide watch
Suicide watch is an intensive monitoring process used to ensure that an individual does not die by suicide. Usually the term is used in reference to inmates in a prison, hospital, psychiatric hospital, or military bases...

). A type of hanging comparable to full suspension hanging may be obtained by self-strangulation using a ligature around the neck and the partial weight of the body (partial suspension) to tighten the ligature. When a suicidal hanging involves partial suspension, the victim is found to have both feet touching the ground e.g. they are kneeling, crouching or standing.

In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, hanging is the most common method of suicide, and in the U.S., hanging is the second most common method, after firearms. In the United Kingdom, where firearms are less easily available, as of 2001 hanging was the most common method among men and the second most commonplace among women (after poisoning).

Medical effects


A hanging may induce one or more of the following medical conditions, some leading to death:
  • Closure of carotid arteries causing cerebral ischemia
    Cerebral ischemia
    Brain ischemia, also known as cerebral ischemia, is a condition in which there is insufficient blood flow to the brain to meet metabolic demand. This leads to poor oxygen supply or cerebral hypoxia and thus to the death of brain tissue or cerebral infarction / ischemic stroke...

  • Closure of the jugular vein
    Jugular vein
    The jugular veins are veins that bring deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava.-Internal and external:There are two sets of jugular veins: external and internal....

    s
  • Induction of carotid reflex, which reduces heartbeat when the pressure in the carotid arteries is high, causing cardiac arrest
    Cardiac arrest
    Cardiac arrest, is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively...

  • Breaking of the neck
    Neck
    The neck is the part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk. The adjective signifying "of the neck" is cervical .-Boner anatomy: The cervical spine:The cervical portion of the human spine comprises seven boney...

     (cervical fracture
    Cervical fracture
    A cervical fracture is commonly called a broken neck. There are seven cervical vertebrae in the human neck, and the fracture of any can be catastrophic. The most common causes are traffic accidents or diving into shallow water...

    ) causing traumatic spinal cord injury or even decapitation
    Decapitation
    Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

  • Closure of the airway
    Airway
    The pulmonary airway comprises those parts of the respiratory system through which air flows, conceptually beginning at the nose and mouth, and terminating in the alveoli...

  • Death erection
    Death erection
    A death erection, angel lust, or terminal erection is a post-mortem erection, technically a priapism, observed in the corpses of human males who have been executed, particularly by hanging.-Overview:...



The cause of death in hanging depends on the conditions related to the event. When the body is released from a relatively high position, the major cause of death is severe trauma to the upper cervical spine. However, the injuries produced are highly variable. One study showed that only a small minority of a series of judicial hangings produced fractures to the cervical spine (6 out of 34 cases studied), with half of these fractures (3 out of 34) being the classic "hangman's fracture
Hangman's fracture
A Hangman's fracture is the colloquial name given to a fracture of both pedicles or pars interarticularis of the axis vertebra .The mechanism of the injury is forcible hyperextension of the head, usually with distraction of the neck. Traditionally this would occur during judicial hanging, when the...

" (bilateral fractures of the pars interarticularis of the C2 vertebra). The location of the knot of the hanging rope is a major factor in determining the mechanics of cervical spine injury, with a submental knot (hangman's knot under the chin) being the only location capable of producing the sudden, straightforward hyperextension injury that causes the classic "hangman's fracture".

There is evidence suggesting that there might be superior alternatives if there were sufficient interest to support research into such matters. Consider in particular an event recounted in the biography of Albert Pierrepoint. Events followed a most unconventional sequence during the hanging of a particularly powerful and uncooperative German spy during World War II. Pierrepoint relates:
"Just as I was crossing to the lever, he jumped with bound feet. The drop opened, and he plunged down, and I saw with horror that the noose was slipping. It would have come right over his head had it not caught roughly at a point halfway up the hood – it had in fact been stopped on his upper lip by the projection of his nose – and the body jerked down, then became absolutely still apart from the swinging of the rope. I went down into the pit with the prison medical officer. He examined the body and said to me: "A clean death. Instantaneous." He sounded surprised, and I did not blame him. I was surprised myself, and very relieved. On my next visit to Wandsworth the governor told me that the severance of the spinal cord had been perfect."

Not surprisingly in retrospect, it appears that such unconventional application of forces might be particularly efficient. There is at least some evidence that some of the countries with particularly active programs of judicial execution may have given the question of the design of efficient and reliable nooses practical attention. For example, photographs of nooses in a South African execution chamber opened to the public after abolishment of the death penalty, showed double nooses. Presumably the upper noose held the lower one in place to ensure a perfect hangman's fracture. The possibly more elegant, but probably more tricky English technique with a single running noose and a rope so arranged as to whip around into the ideal position, might well have been too error-prone to be satisfactorily reliable in any but highly skilled hands. If so, the likes of the double noose might have much merit.

The side, or subaural knot, has been shown to produce other, more complex injuries, with one thoroughly studied case producing only ligamentous injuries to the cervical spine and bilateral vertebral artery disruptions, but no major vertebral fractures or crush injuries to the spinal cord. Death from a "hangman's fracture" occurs mainly when the applied force is severe enough to also cause a severe subluxation of the C2 and C3 vertebra that crushes the spinal cord and/or disrupts the vertebral arteries. Hangman's fractures from other hyperextension injuries (the most common being unrestrained motor vehicle accidents and falls or diving injuries where the face or chin suddenly strike an immovable object) are frequently survivable if the applied force does not cause a severe subluxation of C2 on C3.

Another process that has been suggested is carotid sinus reflex death. By this theory, the mechanical stimulation of the carotid sinus in the neck brings on terminal cardiac arrest.

In the absence of fracture and dislocation, occlusion of blood vessels becomes the major cause of death, rather than asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

tion. Obstruction of venous drainage of the brain via occlusion of the internal jugular veins leads to cerebral edema
Cerebral edema
Cerebral edema or cerebral œdema is an excess accumulation of water in the intracellular or extracellular spaces of the brain.-Vasogenic:Due to a breakdown of tight endothelial junctions which make up the blood-brain barrier...

 and then cerebral ischemia
Cerebral ischemia
Brain ischemia, also known as cerebral ischemia, is a condition in which there is insufficient blood flow to the brain to meet metabolic demand. This leads to poor oxygen supply or cerebral hypoxia and thus to the death of brain tissue or cerebral infarction / ischemic stroke...

. The face will typically become engorged and cyanotic
Cyanosis
Cyanosis is the appearance of a blue or purple coloration of the skin or mucous membranes due to the tissues near the skin surface being low on oxygen. The onset of cyanosis is 2.5 g/dL of deoxyhemoglobin. The bluish color is more readily apparent in those with high hemoglobin counts than it is...

 (turned blue through lack of oxygen). There will be the classic sign of strangulation, petechiae, little blood marks on the face and in the eyes from burst blood capillaries. The tongue may protrude.

Compromise of the cerebral blood flow may occur by obstruction of the carotid arteries, even though their obstruction requires far more force than the obstruction of jugular veins, since they are seated deeper and they contain blood in much higher pressure compared to the jugular veins. Only 31 newtons (7 lbf or 3.2 kgf) of force may be enough to constrict the carotid arteries to the point of rapid unconsciousness. Where death has occurred through carotid artery obstruction or cervical fracture, the face will typically be pale in color and not show petechiae. Many reports and pictures exist of actual short-drop hangings that seem to show that the person died quickly, while others indicate a slow and agonizing death by strangulation.

When cerebral circulation is severely compromised by any mechanism, arterial or venous, death occurs over four or more minutes from cerebral hypoxia, although the heart may continue to beat for some period after the brain can no longer be resuscitated. The time of death in such cases is a matter of convention. In judicial hangings, death is pronounced at cardiac arrest, which may occur at times from several minutes up to 15 minutes or longer after hanging. During suspension, once the prisoner has lapsed into unconsciousness, rippling movements of the body and limbs may occur for some time which are usually attributed to nervous and muscular reflexes. In Britain, it was normal to leave the body suspended for an hour to ensure death.

After death, the body typically shows marks of suspension: bruising and rope marks on the neck. Moreover, sphincters will relax spontaneously and urine and faeces will be evacuated. Forensic experts may often be able to tell if hanging is suicide or homicide, as each leaves a distinctive ligature mark. One of the hints they use is the hyoid bone
Hyoid bone
The hyoid bone is a horseshoe-shaped bone situated in the anterior midline of the neck between the chin and the thyroid cartilage. At rest, it lies at the level of the base of the mandible in the front and the third cervical vertebra behind.Unlike other bones, the hyoid is only distantly...

. If broken, it often means the person has been murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

ed by manual choking
Choking
Choking is the mechanical obstruction of the flow of air from the environment into the lungs. Choking prevents breathing, and can be partial or complete, with partial choking allowing some, although inadequate, flow of air into the lungs. Prolonged or complete choking results in asphyxia which...

.

Notable references by country (political)



Hanging has been a method of capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in many countries.

Australia



Capital punishment was a part of the legal system of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 from its early days as a penal colony for the British Empire, until 1985. During the 19th century, crimes that could carry a death sentence included burglary
Burglary
Burglary is a crime, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary...

, sheep stealing, forgery
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

, sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

s, murder and manslaughter
Manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

. During the 19th century, there were about 80 people hanged each year throughout Australia for these crimes.

Australia abolished the death penalty in all states by 1985.
The last man executed by hanging (or any other means) in Australia was Ronald Ryan
Ronald Ryan
Ronald Joseph Ryan was the last person to be legally executed in Australia. Ryan was found guilty of shooting and killing prison officer George Hodson during a prison escape from Pentridge Prison, Victoria in 1965...

 on 3 February 1967, in Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

.

Brazil


Death by hanging was the customary method of capital punishment in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 throughout its history. Some important national heroes like Tiradentes
Tiradentes
Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes , was a leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement known as the Inconfidência Mineira whose aim was full independence from the Portuguese colonial power and to create a Brazilian republic. When the plan was discovered, Tiradentes was...

 (1792) were killed by hanging. The last man executed in Brazil was the slave Francisco, in 1876.
The death penalty was abolished for all crimes, except for those committed under extraordinary circumstances such as war or military law, in 1890.

Bulgaria


Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

's national hero, Vasil Levski
Vasil Levski
Vasil Levski, born Vasil Ivanov Kunchev, , is a Bulgarian revolutionary and a national hero of Bulgaria. Dubbed the Apostle of Freedom, Levski ideologised and strategised a revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule...

, was executed by hanging by the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 court in Sofia
Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

 in 1873. Every year since Bulgaria's liberation
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, thousands come with flowers on the date of his death, February 19, to his monument where the gallows stood.

The last execution was in 1989, and the death penalty was abolished for all crimes in 1998.

Canada



Historically, hanging was the only method of execution used in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and was in use as punishment for all murders until 1961, when murders were reclassified into capital and non-capital offences. The death penalty was restricted to only apply for certain offences to the National Defence Act in 1976 and was completely abolished in 1998.

The last hangings in Canada took place on December 11, 1962.

Egypt


In 1955, Egypt hanged three Israelis charged with spying. In 2004, Egypt hanged five militants on charges of trying to kill the Prime Minister.


Germany



In the territories occupied by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 from 1939 to 1945, strangulation hanging was a preferred means of public execution, although more criminal executions were performed by guillotine
Guillotine
The guillotine is a device used for carrying out :executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body...

 than hanging. The most commonly sentenced were partisan
Partisan (military)
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity...

s and black marketeers, whose bodies were usually left hanging for long periods of time. There are also numerous reports of concentration camp inmates being hanged. Hanging was continued in post-war Germany in the British and US Occupation Zones under their jurisdiction, and for Nazi war criminals, until well after (western) Germany itself had abolished the death penalty by the German constitution as adopted in 1949. West-Berlin was not subject to the "Grundgesetz" (Basic Law
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...

) and abolished the death penalty in 1951. The German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 did not abolish the death penalty until 1987. The last execution ordered by a West German court was carried out by guillotine in Moabit prison 1949. The last hanging in Germany was the one ordered of several war criminals in Landsberg am Lech
Landsberg am Lech
Landsberg am Lech is a town in southwest Bavaria, Germany, about 65 kilometers west of Munich and 35 kilometers south of Augsburg. It is the capital of the district of Landsberg am Lech....

 on June 7, 1951. The last known execution in East Germany was in 1981 by a pistol shot to the neck.

Hungary


The prime minister of Hungary, during the 1956 Revolution, Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

, was secretly tried, executed by hanging, and buried unceremoniously by the new Soviet-backed Hungarian government, in 1958. Nagy was later publicly exonerated by Hungary.

Capital punishment was abolished for all crimes in 1990.

India


All executions in India are carried out by hanging.

Nathuram Godse
Nathuram Godse
Nathuram Vinayak Godse , from the city of Pune, India was a Hindutva activist and journalist, who was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. Along with his brother Gopal Godse and six other co-conspirators, he executed a plot to assassinate Gandhi.-Early life:Nathuram Godse was born in Baramati, Pune...

, Mohandas Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

’s (known as Mahatma Gandhi) assassin, was executed by hanging in 1949.

The modern Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal as established by Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India...

 has suggested that capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 should be given only in the "rarest of rare cases".

A recent case of capital punishment by hanging is that of Dhananjoy Chatterjee
Dhananjoy Chatterjee
Dhananjoy Chatterjee was a security guard who was executed by hanging for the murder of 14-year-old Hetal Parekh on March 5, 1990 at her apartment residence in Bhowanipur.Chatterjee, whose mercy plea was rejected on August 4, was kept at Alipore for nearly 14...

, a Security Guard who was convicted of the 1990 murder and rape of a 14-year-old girl, Hetal Parekh, in Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The manner in which the crime was committed, bludgeoning the victim with a blunt object and raping her as she was slowly dying, was considered brutal enough by the Supreme Court of India to warrant the death penalty. An appeal for clemency was made to the President of India, but was turned down. Chatterjee was hanged on August 14, 2004. It was the first execution in India since 1995.

Iran


Death by hanging is the primary means of capital punishment in Iran. It is legal for murder, rape, and drug trafficking unless the criminal pays diyya
Diyya
Diyya is compensation paid to the heirs of a victim. In Arabic, the word means both blood money and ransom.-Islamic and Arab tradition:The Qur'an specifies the principle of Qisas Diyya (plural: Diyyat; ) is compensation paid to the heirs of a victim. In Arabic, the word means both blood money and...

 to the family, thus attaining their forgiveness (see Sharia law). If the presiding judge deems the case to be "causing public outrage", he can order the hanging to take place in public at the spot where the crime was committed, typically from a mobile telescoping crane which hoists the condemned high into the air. On July 19, 2005, two boys, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were Iranian teenagers from the province of Khorasan who were publicly hanged in Edalat Square in Mashhad, northeast Iran, on July 19, 2005. They were executed after being convicted by the court of having raped a 13-year old boy. The case attracted...

, aged 15 and 17 respectively, who had been convicted of the rape of a 13-year-old boy, were hanged at Edalat (Justice) Square in Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, on charges of homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 and rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

.
On August 15, 2004, a 16-year-old girl, Atefeh Sahaaleh (a.k.a. Atefeh Rajabi), was executed for having committed "acts incompatible with chastity
Chastity
Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion....

".

At dawn on July 27, 2008, the Iranian Government executed 29 people at Evin Prison
Evin Prison
Evin House of Detention is a prison in Iran, located in Evin, northwestern Tehran. It is noted for its political prisoners' wing, where prisoners have been held both before and after the 1979 Iranian Revolution...

 in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

. On December 2, 2008, an unnamed man was hanged for murder at Kazeroun Prison, just moments after he was pardoned by the murder victim's family. He was quickly cut down and rushed to a hospital, where he was successfully revived.

Iraq


Hanging was used under the regime of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, but was suspended along with capital punishment on June 10, 2003, when the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 invaded and overthrew the previous regime. The death penalty was reinstated on August 8, 2004.

In September 2005, three murderers were the first people to be executed since the restoration. Then on March 9, 2006, an official of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council confirmed that Iraqi authorities had executed the first insurgent
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

s by hanging.

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity on November 5, 2006, and was executed on December 30, 2006 at approximately 6:00 a.m. local time. During the drop, there was an audible crack indicating that his neck was broken, a successful example of a long drop hanging. A week later, another video surfaced on the Internet, which showed Saddam's body with a large neck wound, creating speculation that the execution had been carried out incorrectly.

By contrast, Barzan Ibrahim, the head of the Mukhabarat, Saddam's security agency, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar
Awad Hamed al-Bandar
Awad Hamad al-Bandar was an Iraqi chief judge under Saddam Hussein's presidency. He was the head of the Revolutionary Court which issued death sentences against 143 Dujail residents, in the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt on the president on July 8, 1982 Awad Hamad al-Bandar ...

, former chief judge, were executed on January 15, 2007, also by the long drop method, but Barzan was decapitated by the rope at the end of his fall indicating that the drop was too long.

Also, former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan
Taha Yassin Ramadan
Taha Yasin Ramadan al-Jizrawi was a prominent Iraqi Kurd, serving as Vice President of Iraq from March 1991 to the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003....

 had been sentenced to life in prison on November 5, 2006, but the sentence was changed to death by hanging on February 12, 2007. He was the fourth and final man to be executed for the 1982 crimes against humanity on March 20, 2007. This time, the execution went smoothly and without obvious mistake or problem.

At the Anfal genocide trial, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid
Ali Hassan al-Majid
Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti , , was a Ba'athist Iraqi Defense Minister, Interior Minister, military commander and chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service...

 (aka Chemical Ali), former defence minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay, and former deputy Hussein Rashid Mohammed were sentenced to hang for their role in the Al-Anfal Campaign
Al-Anfal Campaign
The al-Anfal Campaign , also known as Operation Anfal or simply Anfal, was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq, led by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid in the final stages of Iran-Iraq War...

 against the Kurds on June 24, 2007. Al-Majid was sentenced to death three more times: once for the 1991 suppression of a Shi'a uprising along with Abdul-Ghani Abdul Ghafur on December 2, 2008; once for the 1999 crackdown in the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad al-Sadr
Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr
Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr , often referred to as Muhammad Sadiq as-Sadr which is his father's name, was a prominent Iraqi Twelver Shi'a cleric of the rank of Grand Ayatollah. He called for government reform and the release of detained Shi'a leaders...

 on March 2, 2009; and once on January 17, 2010 for the gassing of the Kurds in 1988; he was hanged over a week later on January 25.

On October 26, 2010, Saddam's top minister Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein. Their association began in the 1950s when both were activists for the then-banned Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party...

 was sentenced to hang for persecuting the members of rival Shi'a political parties.

On July 14, 2011, Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay and two of Saddam's half-brothers – Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti , half brother of Saddam Hussein, was the leader of the Iraqi secret service, the Mukhabarat, at the time of the 1991 Gulf War...

 and Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti , half brother of Saddam Hussein, brother of Barzan, is a former senior Interior Minister of Iraq. He was taken into coalition custody April 13, 2003, following his capture as he was attempting to flee into Syria....

 (both condemned to death on March 11, 2009 for the role in the executions of 42 traders who were accused of manipulating food prices – were handed over to the Iraqi authorities for execution.

It is alleged that Iraq's government keeps the execution rate secret, and hundreds may be carried out every year. In 2007, Amnesty International stated that 900 people were at "imminent risk" of execution in Iraq.

Israel



Although Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 has provisions in its criminal law to use the death penalty for extraordinary crimes, it has only been used once. On May 31, 1962, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

 was executed by hanging.

Japan



On February 27, 2004, the mastermind of the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
The Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, usually referred to in the Japanese media as the , was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by members of Aum Shinrikyo on March 20, 1995....

, Shoko Asahara
Shoko Asahara
, born on March 2, 1955, is a founder of the controversial Japanese new religious group Aum Shinrikyo. He was convicted of masterminding the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway and several other crimes, for which he was sentenced to death...

, was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. On December 25, 2006, serial killer Hiroaki Hidaka
Hiroaki Hidaka
was a Japanese serial killer.-Early life:Hidaka was born in the Miyazaki Prefecture. He was originally an excellent student, but he failed to enter the University of Tsukuba, his target college. He entered the Fukuoka University instead, but eventually dropped out. He often borrowed money, drank...

 and three others were hanged in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Hanging is the common method of execution in capital punishment cases in Japan, as in the cases of Norio Nagayama
Norio Nagayama
was a Japanese spree killer and novelist.-Biography:Nagayama was born in Abashiri, Hokkaidō and grew up in a broken home. He moved to Tokyo in 1965 and, while working in Tokyo's Shibuya district, witnessed the Zama and Shibuya shootings....

, Mamoru Takuma
Mamoru Takuma
was a Japanese janitor who committed mass murder of 8 people and wounded 15 others in the 2001 Osaka school massacre. He had been convicted and imprisoned for rape before the massacre.- Early life :...

, and Tsutomu Miyazaki
Tsutomu Miyazaki
, also known as The Otaku Murderer, The Little Girl Murderer, and Dracula, was a Japanese serial killer.-Background:Planaria's premature birth left him with deformed hands, which were permanently gnarled and fused directly to the wrists, necessitating him to move his entire forearm in order to...

.

Jordan


Death by hanging is the traditional method of capital punishment in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. In 1993, Jordan hanged two Jordanians convicted of spying for Israel.

Malaysia



Hanging is the traditional way of capital punishment in Malaysia.

Portugal



The last person executed by hanging in Portugal was Francisco Matos Lobos on April 16, 1842. Before, it had been a common death penalty.

Pakistan



In Pakistan hanging is the most common form of execution.

Russia



Hanging was commonly practiced in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 during the rule of the Romanov Dynasty as an alternative to impalement
Impalement
Impalement is the traumatic penetration of an organism by an elongated foreign object such as a stake, pole, or spear, and this usually implies complete perforation of the central mass of the impaled body...

, which was used in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Hanging was eliminated by Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 along with serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

 in 1868, but was restored by the time of his death and his assassins were hanged. While those sentenced to death from murder were usually pardoned and sentence commuted to life imprisonment, those guilty from high treason were usually executed. This included also Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

 and Kingdom of Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

 under the Russian crown. Taavetti Lukkarinen became the last Finn to be executed this way. He was hanged from espionage and high treason 1916.

The hanging was usually performed by short drop and in public. The gallows was usually either a stout nearby tree branch, as in case of Lukkarinen, or a makeshift gallows constructed for the purpose.

After the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in 1917, capital punishment was, on paper, abolished, but continued to be used unabated against people perceived to be enemies of the regime. Under the Bolsheviks, most executions were performed by shooting, either by firing squad or by a single fiream. The last to be hanged were Andrei Vlasov and his companions 1946.

Singapore



In Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, mandatory hanging using the long-drop method is currently used as punishment for various crimes, such as drug trafficking, kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

, and unauthorized possession of firearms.

Syria


Syria has publicly hanged people, such as two Jews in 1952, Israeli spy Eli Cohen
Eli Cohen
Eli Cohen was an Israeli spy. He is best known for his work in Syria, where he developed close relationships with the political and military hierarchy and became the Chief Adviser to the Minister of Defense. He was eventually exposed and executed in Syria in 1965...

 in 1965, and a number of Jews accused of spying in 1969.

United Kingdom


As a form of judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 execution in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, hanging is thought to date from the Anglo-Saxon period
History of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England refers to the period of the history of that part of Britain, that became known as England, lasting from the end of Roman occupation and establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror...

. Records of the names of British hangmen
Executioner
A judicial executioner is a person who carries out a death sentence ordered by the state or other legal authority, which was known in feudal terminology as high justice.-Scope and job:...

 begin with Thomas de Warblynton in the 1360s; complete records extend from the 16th century to the last hangmen, Robert Leslie Stewart
Robert Leslie Stewart
Robert Leslie Stewart , from Edinburgh, Scotland, also known as Jock Stewart, was one of the last executioners in the United Kingdom, officiating between 1950 and 1964....

 and Harry Allen, who conducted the last British executions in 1964.

At the beginning of the 19th century, children in Britain were punished in the same way as adults. They were even sentenced to death for petty theft. In 1814 five child criminals under the age of fourteen were hanged at the Old Bailey, the youngest being only eight years old.
Until 1868 hangings were performed in public. In London, the traditional site was at Tyburn
Tyburn
Tyburn is a former village just outside the then boundaries of London that was best known as a place of public execution.Tyburn may also refer to:* Tyburn , river and historical water source in London...

, a settlement west of the City
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 on the main road to Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, which was used on eight hanging days a year, though before 1865, executions had been transferred to the street outside Newgate Prison
Newgate Prison
Newgate Prison was a prison in London, at the corner of Newgate Street and Old Bailey just inside the City of London. It was originally located at the site of a gate in the Roman London Wall. The gate/prison was rebuilt in the 12th century, and demolished in 1777...

, Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

, now the site of the Central Criminal Court
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

.

In 1957, in an attempt to prevent the abolition of capital punishment completely, two levels of murder were defined: First Degree murder and Second Degree with only First Degree murder carrying the death penalty.

In 1965, Parliament passed the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act, temporarily abolishing capital punishment for murder for 5 years. The Act was renewed in 1969, making the abolition permanent. And with the passage of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
Crime and Disorder Act 1998
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act was published on 2 December 1997 and received Royal Assent in July 1998...

 and the Human Rights Act 1998
Human Rights Act 1998
The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, and mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. Its aim is to "give further effect" in UK law to the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights...

, the death penalty was officially abolished for all crimes in both civilian and military cases. Following its complete abolition, the gallows were removed from Wandsworth Prison
Wandsworth (HM Prison)
HM Prison Wandsworth is a Category B men's prison at Wandsworth in the London Borough of Wandsworth, south west London, England. It is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service and is the largest prison in London and one of the largest in western Europe, with similar capacity to Liverpool...

, where they remained in full working order until that year.

The last woman to be hanged was Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis , née Neilson, was the last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom. She was convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, and hanged at Holloway Prison, London, by Albert Pierrepoint.-Biography:...

 on July 13, 1955, by Albert Pierrepoint
Albert Pierrepoint
Albert Pierrepoint is the most famous member of the family which provided three of the United Kingdom's official hangmen in the first half of the 20th century...

 who was a prominent hangman in the 20th century in England. The last hanging in Britain took place in 1964, when Peter Anthony Allen, at Walton Prison
Liverpool (HM Prison)
HM Prison Liverpool is a categoryB/C local men's prison, located in the Walton area of Liverpool in England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.-History:...

 in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, and Gwynne Owen Evans, at Strangeways Prison in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 were executed for the murder of John Alan West
John Alan West
John Alan West was a 53-year-old laundry van driver from Seaton, Cumberland, England, murdered by two men on 7 April 1964. His murder led to the executions of Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans — the last executions in the United Kingdom.-Crime and arrest:John West, who lived alone, had returned to...

.

Silken rope


In the UK, some felons were traditionally executed by hanging with a silken rope:
  • poachers who killed the "King's royal deer", as in the Child ballad Geordie
    Geordie (ballad)
    -Synopsis:The "Geordie" of the title is taken for a crime, to hang; it may be rebellion, murder, horse-stealing, or poaching deer. His wife goes to appeal for his life, sometimes refusing offers to marry her, once widowed, along the way....

    .
  • hereditary peers who committed capital offences, as anticipated by the fictional Duke of Denver
    Duke of Denver
    The fictitious title of Duke of Denver was created by Dorothy Sayers for the family of Lord Peter Wimsey. Lord Peter is the second of the three children of Mortimer Wimsey, 15th Duke of Denver...

    , brother of Lord Peter Wimsey
    Lord Peter Wimsey
    Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey is a bon vivant amateur sleuth in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers, in which he solves mysteries; usually, but not always, murders...

    . The Duke was accused of murder in the novel Clouds of Witness
    Clouds of Witness
    Clouds of Witness is a 1926 novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, the second in her series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.It was adapted for television in 1972, as part of a series starring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter.-Plot introduction:...

    , and if convicted, this execution would have been his fate, after conviction by his peers in a trial in the House of Lords
    House of Lords
    The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

    . However, it has been claimed that the execution of Earl Ferrers
    Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers
    Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers was the last member of the House of Lords hanged in England.The 4th Earl Ferrers, descendant of an ancient and noble family, was the eldest son of Hon. Laurence Ferrers, himself a younger son of the Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers-a descendant of Robert...

     in 1760 – the only time a peer was hanged after trial by the House of Lords
    House of Lords
    The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

     – was carried out with the normal hempen rope instead of a silk one. The writ of execution does not specify a silk rope be used, and the Newgate Calendar makes no mention of the use of such an item – an unusual omission given its highly sensationalist nature.
  • Those who have the Freedom of the City of London.

United States


At present, capital punishment varies from state to state; it is outlawed in some states but used in most others. However, the death penalty under federal law is applicable in every state.

The largest mass execution in the United States, of 38 Sioux Indians sentenced to death for engaging in massacres of white settlers, was carried out by hanging in Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 39,309 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth largest city in Minnesota outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The county seat of Blue Earth County, it is located...

 in 1862. The last public hanging in the United States took place on August 14, 1936, in Owensboro, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. Rainey Bethea
Rainey Bethea
Rainey Bethea was the last person to be publicly executed in the United States. Bethea, who was a black man, confessed to the rape and murder of a 70-year-old white woman named Lischia Edwards, and after being convicted of her rape, he was publicly hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky...

 was executed for the rape and murder of 70-year-old Lischa Edwards. The execution was presided over by the first female sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

 in Kentucky, Florence Thompson.

In California, Clinton Duffy
Clinton Duffy
Clinton Duffy is a New Zealand marine scientist, who works in the Marine Conservation Unit of the Department of Conservation. Duffy is a shark expert, whose work includes the taxonomy and conservation status of New Zealand’s deepwater dogfishes, attaching GPS wildlife tracking devices to great...

, who served as warden of San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin State Prison is a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation state prison for men in unincorporated San Quentin, Marin County, California, United States. Opened in July 1852, it is the oldest prison in the state. California's only death row for male inmates, the largest...

 between 1940 and 1952, presided over ninety executions. He began to oppose the death penalty and after his retirement he wrote a memoir entitled Eighty-Eight Men and Two Women in support of the movement to abolish the death penalty. The book documents several hangings gone wrong and describes how they led his predecessor, Warden James B. Holohan, to persuade the California Legislature to replace hanging with the gas chamber in 1937.

Various methods of capital punishment have been replaced by lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

 in most states and the federal government. Many states that offered hanging as an option have since eliminated the method. Condemned murderer Victor Feguer
Victor Feguer
Victor Harry Feguer was a convicted murderer and the last federal inmate executed in the United States before the moratorium on the death penalty following Furman v. Georgia, and the last person put to death in the state of Iowa...

 became the last inmate to be executed by hanging in the state of Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 on March 15, 1963. Hanging was the preferred method of execution for capital murder cases in Iowa until 1965, the death penalty was abolished and replaced with life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

 without parole
Parole
Parole may have different meanings depending on the field and judiciary system. All of the meanings originated from the French parole . Following its use in late-resurrected Anglo-French chivalric practice, the term became associated with the release of prisoners based on prisoners giving their...

. Barton Kay Kirkham
Barton Kay Kirkham
Barton Kay Kirkham was a deserter of the United States Air Force who was discharged in 1955 after committing a robbery in Colorado...

 was the last person to be hanged in Utah, preferring it over execution by firing squad
Execution by firing squad
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading , is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice...

. No subsequent inmate in Utah had been hanged by the time the option was replaced with lethal injection in 1980. Laws in Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 were changed in 1986 to specify lethal injection, except for those convicted before 1986 (who were still allowed to choose hanging). If a choice was not made, or the convict refused to choose injection, then hanging would become the default method. This was the case in the 1996 execution of Billy Bailey
Billy Bailey
Billy Bailey was a convicted murderer hanged in Delaware in 1996. He became only the third person to be hanged in the United States since 1965 and the first hanged in Delaware in 50 years...

, the most recent hanging in American history. Since the hanging of Bailey, no Delaware prisoner fit into this category, thus the practice ended there de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

, and the state's gallows were dismantled.

Only the states of Washington and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 presently retain hanging as an option. In New Hampshire, if it is found to be "impractical" to carry out the execution by lethal injection, then the condemned will be hanged, and in Washington the condemned still has an outright choice between hanging and lethal injection.

Grammar


The proper, traditional past tense and past participle form of the verb "hang", in this sense, is (to be) "hanged" and not "hung". Some dictionaries list only "hanged", whereas others show both forms.

See also

  • Autoerotic asphyxiation
  • Capital punishment
    Capital punishment
    Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

  • Death erection
    Death erection
    A death erection, angel lust, or terminal erection is a post-mortem erection, technically a priapism, observed in the corpses of human males who have been executed, particularly by hanging.-Overview:...

  • Dule Tree
    Dule Tree
    Dule or dool trees in Britain were used as gallows for public hangings. They were also used as gibbets for the display of the corpse for a considerable period of time after such hangings...

  • Executioner
    Executioner
    A judicial executioner is a person who carries out a death sentence ordered by the state or other legal authority, which was known in feudal terminology as high justice.-Scope and job:...

  • Gallows
    Gallows
    A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered...

  • Hangman (game)
    Hangman (game)
    Hangman is a paper and pencil guessing game for two or more players. One player thinks of a word and the other tries to guess it by suggesting letters.-Overview:...

  • Hand of Glory
    Hand of Glory
    The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left hand, or else, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that "did the deed."...

  • Hanging Judge
    Hanging Judge
    "Hanging judge" is an unofficial term for a judge who has gained renown for punishment by sentencing convicted criminals to death by hanging.More broadly, the term is applied to judges who have gained a reputation for imposing unusually harsh sentences, even in jurisdictions where the death penalty...

  • Hangman's knot
    Hangman's knot
    The hangman's knot or hangman's noose is a well-known knot most often associated with its use in hanging. For a hanging, the knot of the rope is typically placed under or just behind the left ear. When the condemned drops to the end of the rope, the force is supposed to break the neck...

  • Jack Ketch
    Jack Ketch
    John Ketch was an infamous English executioner employed by King Charles II. An immigrant of Irish extraction, he became famous through the way he performed his duties during the tumults of the 1680s, when he was often mentioned in broadsheet accounts that circulated throughout the Kingdom of...

  • List of people who died by hanging
  • List of suicides
  • Lynching
    Lynching
    Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

  • Official Table of Drops
    Official Table of Drops
    The Official Table of Drops, published by the British Home Office, is a manual which was used to calculate the appropriate length of rope for long drop hangings....


External links