Top 12 Countries That Have the Death Penalty or Use Capital Punishment for Drugs

These top 12 countries that have the death penalty or use capital punishment for drugs have strictest drug laws in the world.

Globally, 33 countries have legislation which allows the death sentence for drug trafficking. According to Harm Reduction International, among places which have the death penalty for drug offenders, seven carry out executions almost every year, while others rarely or never execute prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes. For instance death penalty for drug trafficking in the United States exists on the paper, but in practice, no dealer has been executed.

Top 12 Countries That Have the Death Penalty or Use Capital Punishment for Drugs

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According to Amnesty International, hundreds of people were executed for drug-related crimes last year, and hundreds more were put on the death row. Under International law capital punishment is allowed for the most serious crimes, such as murder, but sentencing someone to death for possession or selling of narcotics represents breaching of the law of nations. Still, a few countries do not even want to consider abolishment of capital punishment for drug trafficking, insisting that such harsh punishment is an effective way of deterring people from criminal, even though there is no solid evidence which could support it.  The whole death penalty for drug trafficking debate, i.e., the dilemma should drug dealers get the death penalty has been reduced to one simple question – does execution of drug offenders significantly reduce drug crimes, and the answer is no. Even Iran, which has executed hundreds of prisoners for drugs, admits that death penalty did not help country’s drug problems. In reality, capital punishment has little effect on the crime rates – our previous article 10 States with Highest Murder Rates Despite Death Penalty shows that there is no difference in murder rates between states with the death penalty and non-death penalty states.

So, when it comes to the death penalty for drug trafficking the United States, isn’t listed. All countries that are listed in our article are located in Asia. The continent is a home to top executors in the world which together carried out more than 2,000 executions last year, including the killing of hundreds of drug offenders. Some of them are places torn up with conflicts and poverty but the majority are highly developed economies, and you might be surprised to discover that few are listed in our ranking of Top 25 Safest, Most Peaceful Countries in the World.

In creating the list of top 12 countries that have the death penalty or use capital punishment for drugs we relied on the last available report of Harm Reduction International (HRI), non-governmental organization focused on reducing harm of drug use and drug policy, and the Amnesty International’s report about death sentences and executions in 2016. Using these two documents we identified countries which have executed or have put on the death row drug offenders in recent years. We also relied on HRI’s and AI’s reports for the information about drug trafficking penalties by country. Note though that for some countries there are no sufficient data. For instance, HRI couldn’t determine whether there has been any execution for drug-related crimes in North Korea, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Moreover, in some places, information about execution are classified as state secrete, so the international organization can only assume how many executions have been carried out in recent years. We ranked countries by the number of people who were executed over the last few years for drug crimes. The last five countries on this ranking did not carry out executions of drug offender, and they are ranked by the number of imposed death sentences.