Execution by firing squad
Overview
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading (from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 fusil, rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

), is 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...

, particularly common in the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 and in times of war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

.

Execution by shooting
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

 is a fairly old practice. Some reasons for its use are that firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s are usually readily available and a gunshot
Gunshot
A gunshot is the discharge of a firearm, producing a mechanical sound effect and a chemical gunshot residue. The term can also refer to a gunshot wound caused by such a discharge. Multiple discharges of a firearm or firearms are referred to as gunfire. The word can connotate either the sound of a...

 to a vital organ usually kills the subject relatively quickly.

Before the introduction of firearms, bow
Bow (weapon)
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

s or crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

s were often used — Saint Sebastian is usually depicted as executed by a squad of Roman auxiliary archers in around 288 AD; King Edmund the Martyr
Edmund the Martyr
St Edmund the Martyr was a king of East Anglia, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.D'Evelyn, Charlotte, and Mill, Anna J., , 1956. Reprinted 1967...

 of East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

, by some accounts, was tied to a tree and shot dead by Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 archer
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

s on 20 November 869 or 870 AD.

A firing squad
Squad
In military terminology, a squad is a small military unit led by a non-commissioned officer that is subordinate to an infantry platoon. In countries following the British Army tradition this organization is referred to as a section...

 is normally composed of several soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s or law enforcement officers.
Encyclopedia
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading (from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 fusil, rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

), is 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...

, particularly common in the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 and in times of war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

.

Execution by shooting
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

 is a fairly old practice. Some reasons for its use are that firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s are usually readily available and a gunshot
Gunshot
A gunshot is the discharge of a firearm, producing a mechanical sound effect and a chemical gunshot residue. The term can also refer to a gunshot wound caused by such a discharge. Multiple discharges of a firearm or firearms are referred to as gunfire. The word can connotate either the sound of a...

 to a vital organ usually kills the subject relatively quickly.

Before the introduction of firearms, bow
Bow (weapon)
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

s or crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

s were often used — Saint Sebastian is usually depicted as executed by a squad of Roman auxiliary archers in around 288 AD; King Edmund the Martyr
Edmund the Martyr
St Edmund the Martyr was a king of East Anglia, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.D'Evelyn, Charlotte, and Mill, Anna J., , 1956. Reprinted 1967...

 of East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

, by some accounts, was tied to a tree and shot dead by Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 archer
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

s on 20 November 869 or 870 AD.

A firing squad
Squad
In military terminology, a squad is a small military unit led by a non-commissioned officer that is subordinate to an infantry platoon. In countries following the British Army tradition this organization is referred to as a section...

 is normally composed of several soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s or law enforcement officers. Usually, all members of the group are instructed to fire simultaneously, thus preventing both disruption of the process by a single member and identification of the member who fired the lethal shot. The prisoner is typically blindfold
Blindfold
A blindfold is a garment, usually of cloth, tied to one's head to cover the eyes to disable the wearer's sight. It can be worn when the eyes are in a closed state and thus prevents the wearer from opening them...

ed or hooded
Hood (headgear)
A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, to prevent the wearer from seeing or to prevent the wearer from being identified.-History and...

, as well as restrained, although in some cases prisoners have asked to be allowed to face the firing squad without their eyes covered. Executions can be carried out with the condemned either standing or sitting. There is a tradition in some jurisdictions that such executions are carried out at first light
First light
In astronomy, first light is the first use of a telescope to take an astronomical image after it has been constructed. This is often not the first viewing using the telescope; optical tests have likely already been performed during daylight to adjust the components...

, or at sunrise, which is usually up to half an hour later. This gave rise to the phrase "shot at dawn".

Execution by firing squad is distinct from other forms of execution by firearms, such as an execution by a single firearm to the back of the head or neck. However, the single shot (coup de grâce
Coup de grâce
The expression coup de grâce means a death blow intended to end the suffering of a wounded creature. The phrase can refer to the killing of civilians or soldiers, friends or enemies, with or without the consent of the sufferer...

) is sometimes incorporated in a firing squad execution, particularly if the initial volley turns out not to be immediately fatal.

Military significance

The method is often the supreme punishment or disciplinary means employed by military courts martial for crimes such as cowardice
Cowardice
Cowardice is the perceived failure to demonstrate sufficient mental robustness and courage in the face of a challenge. Under many military codes of justice, cowardice in the face of combat is a crime punishable by death...

, desertion
Desertion
In military terminology, desertion is the abandonment of a "duty" or post without permission and is done with the intention of not returning...

 or mutiny
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

. For military servicemen, the firing squad has a symbolic significance. The condemned soldier is executed by a group of his peers, indicating that he is found guilty by the entire group. Although a court-martial might be presided by and prosecuted by officers, the instruments of execution are the ordinary weapons fired by members of the group from which he is being expunged. Furthermore, in judicially approved executions, the condemned man is allowed to stand, rather than kneel; in many cultures, the ability or the will to stand in the face of adversity or danger is considered a salient feature of individual pride. Finally, the group action on one side (being the firing squad), with the condemned standing opposite, presents a visual contrast that reinforces to all witnesses that solidarity is an overriding necessity in a military unit.

Blank cartridge

In some cases one or more members of the firing squad may be issued a weapon containing a blank cartridge
Blank (cartridge)
A blank is a type of cartridge for a firearm that contains gunpowder but no bullet or shot. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound . Blanks are often used for simulation , training, and for signaling...

 instead of one housing a live round. No member of the firing squad is told beforehand if he is using live ammunition. This is believed to reinforce the sense of diffusion of responsibility
Diffusion of responsibility
Diffusion of responsibility is a sociopsychological phenomenon. It refers to the tendency of any individual person to avoid taking action, or refraining from action, when others are present. Considered a form of attribution, the individual assumes that either others are responsible for taking...

 among the firing squad members, making the execution process more reliable. It also allows each member of the firing squad to believe afterward that he did not personally fire a fatal shot--for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "conscience round". While an experienced marksman can tell the difference between a blank and a live cartridge based on the recoil (the blank will have lower recoil), there is a psychological incentive to not pay attention and, over time, to remember the recoil as soft. In more recent times, such as in the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner
Ronnie Lee Gardner
Ronnie Lee Gardner was an American criminal who received the death penalty for murder in 1985, and was executed by firing squad by the state of Utah in 2010...

 in Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 in the United States in 2010, a rifleman may be given a "dummy" cartridge containing wax instead of a bullet, which provides a more realistic recoil.

Finland

The death penalty was widely used during and after the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

; some 9,700 Finns and an unknown number of Russian volunteers on the Red side were executed during the war or in its aftermath. Most executions were carried out by firing squads after the sentences were given by illegal or semi-legal
Extra-judicial killing
An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur...

 courts martial. Only some 250 persons were sentenced to death in courts acting on legal authority.

During World War II some 500 persons were executed, half of them condemned spies. The usual causes for death penalty for Finnish citizens were treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 and high treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

 (and to a lesser extent cowardice and disobedience, applicable for military personnel). Almost all cases of capital punishment were tried by court-martial. Usually the executions were carried out by the regimental military police platoon, or in the case of spies, by the local military police. One Finn, Toivo Koljonen
Toivo Koljonen
Toivo Harald "Kirves" Koljonen was the last Finn executed for a civilian crime. He was executed by firing squad for a sextuple murder....

, was executed for a civilian crime (six murders). Most executions occurred in 1941 and during the Soviet Summer Offensive in 1944. The last death sentences were given in 1945 for murder, but later commuted to life imprisonment.

The death penalty was abolished by Finnish law in 1949 for crimes committed during peacetime, and in 1972 for all crimes. Finland is party to the Optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

, forbidding the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.

Indonesia

Execution by firing squad is the common capital punishment method used in Indonesia. Fabianus Tibo
Fabianus Tibo
Fabianus Tibo was an Indonesian Catholic citizen executed by firing squad on September 22, 2006 at 1:20 a.m. local time together with Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu for leading riots in Poso, Sulawesi in 2000 that led to the murders of about 200 people...

, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu were executed in 2006. Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

n drug smugglers Samuel Iwachekwu Okoye and Hansen Anthoni Nwaolisa were executed in June 2008 in Nusakambangan Island. Five months later three men convicted for the 2002 Bali bombing
2002 Bali bombing
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was claimed as the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia according to the current police general, killing 202 people,...

--Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron--were executed on the same spot in Nusakambangan.

Ireland

Following the 1916 Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 in Ireland, 15 of the 16 rebel leaders were shot by the British military authorities under martial law. The executions have often been cited as a reason for how the rebels managed to galvanise public support in Ireland after their failed rebellion.

Israel

During the Jordanian Siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (1948)
The Battle for Jerusalem occurred from 30 November 1947 to 11 June 1948 when Jewish and Arab population of Mandatory Palestine and later Israeli and Jordanian armies fought for the control of the city....

 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, the accurate Jordanian shelling of Israeli positions led to suspicions that a spy was operating. Meir Tobianski
Meir Tobianski
Meir Tobianski also Tubianski was an officer in the Israel Defense Forces who was executed as a traitor on circumstantial evidence on the orders of Isser Be'eri, the first director of the IDF's intelligence branch...

, a worker for the Israel Electric Corporation
Israel Electric Corporation
Israel Electric Corporation is the main supplier of electrical power in Israel.IEC builds, maintains and operates power generation stations, sub-stations, as well as the transmission and distribution networks....

, was suspected since he knew the exact locations of several Israeli arms manufacturers, all of which received direct hits from Jordanian artillery. Tobianski was arrested at the Carmel Market
Carmel Market
The Carmel Market is the largest bazaar market in Tel Aviv. The market is bordered by Allenby Street and Magen David Square and the market is principally located along Carmel Street , but has expanded over time to streets such as Nahalat Binyamin Street...

 in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. Orders to detain him for ten days were ignored, and he was instead interrogated and tried before a drumhead court-martial
Drumhead court-martial
A drumhead court-martial is a court-martial held in the field to hear urgent charges of offences committed in action. The term is said to originate from the use of a drumhead as an improvised writing table, altar for religious services, and a traditional gathering point for a regiment for orders...

. Tobianski was found guilty and executed by a six-man firing squad. After an investigation, Tobianski was posthumously acquitted and reburied at Mount Herzl
Mount Herzl
Mount Herzl , also Har HaZikaron , is the national cemetery of Israel on the west side of Jerusalem. It is named for Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism. Herzl's tomb lies at the top of the hill. Yad Vashem, which commemorates the Holocaust, lies to the west of Mt. Herzl....

. Isser Be'eri
Isser Be'eri
Isser Be'eri was the director of the Haganah Intelligence Service in Israel and was responsible for helping to reorganise Israeli intelligence services in 1948, as well as knowingly ordering the execution of an innocent man, Meir Tobianski...

, the officer who had ordered his execution and organized the firing squad, was tried for manslaughter. He was found guilty but pardoned by President Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

.

Italy

Italy
Capital punishment in Italy
The use of capital punishment in Italy has been banned since 1889, with the exception of the period 1926-1947. When Italy was unified in 1860, capital punishment had been allowed in almost all pre-unitarian states, except for Tuscany...

 had used the firing squad as its only form of death penalty, both for civilians and military, since the unification of the country in 1861. The last execution took place on March 4, 1947, as Francesco La Barbera, Giovanni Puleo and Giovanni D'Ignoti, sentenced to death on multiple accounts of robbery and murder, faced the firing squad at the range of Basse di Stura, near Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. Soon after the Constitution of the newly-proclaimed Republic
Constitution of Italy
The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 13 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947...

 prohibited the death penalty except for some crimes, like high treason, during wartime; no one was sentenced to death after 1947.
In 2008, the Constitution was amended to ban the death penalty altogether.

Mexico

During the Mexican Independence War several Independentist generals (such as Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor , more commonly known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence.In 1810 Hidalgo led a group of peasants in a revolt against the dominant...

 and José María Morelos
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

) were executed by Spanish firing squads. Also, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 and several of his generals were executed in the Cerro de las Campanas after the Juaristas took control of Mexico in 1867. Manet
Manet
-MANET as an abbreviation:*MANET is a mobile ad hoc network, a self-configuring mobile wireless network.*MANET database or Molecular Ancestry Network, bioinformatics database-People with the surname Manet:*Édouard Manet, a 19th-century French painter....

 immortalized the execution in a now-famous painting, "The Execution of Emperor Maximilian"; he painted at least three versions.

Firing-squad execution was the most common way to carry out a death sentence in Mexico, especially during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 and the Cristero War
Cristero War
The Cristero War of 1926 to 1929 was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government in power at that time. The rebellion was set off by the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws...

. After these events, the death sentence was reduced to some events in Article 22 of the Mexican Constitution; however, on June 18, 2008 capital punishment was abolished completely.

Netherlands

During World War II, some 3000 persons were executed by German firing squads. The victims were sometimes sentenced by a military court; in other cases the victims were hostages or arbitrary people passing by who were executed publicly to intimidate the population and as reprisals against the resistance movements. After the attack on high-ranking German officer Rauter
Hanns Albin Rauter
Johann Baptist Albin Rauter was a high-ranking Austrian Nazi war criminal. He was the highest SS and Police Leader in the occupied Netherlands and therefore the leading security and police officer there during the period of 1940-1945...

, about 300 persons were executed publicly as reprisal.

Anton Mussert
Anton Mussert
Anton Adriaan Mussert was one of the founders of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands and its de jure leader. As such, he was the most prominent national socialist in the Netherlands before and during the Second World War...

, a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 leader, was sentenced to death by firing squad and executed in the dunes near The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 on May 7, 1946.

Norway

Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

, the leader of the collaborationist Nasjonal Samling Party and of Norway during the German occupation in World War II, was sentenced to death by firing squad for treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 and executed on October 24, 1945, at the Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress or Akershus Castle is a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo, the capital of Norway. It has also been used as a prison.- Construction :...

.

Philippines

Jose Rizal
José Rizal
José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda , was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by...

 was executed by firing squad on the morning of December 30, 1896, in what is now Luneta Park, where his remains have since been placed.

During the Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 administration, drug trafficking was punishable by firing-squad execution, as was done to Lim Seng. Execution by firing squad was later replaced by lethal injection. By June 24, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

 abolished capital punishment by Republic Act 9346. Existing death row
Death row
Death row signifies the place, often a section of a prison, that houses individuals awaiting execution. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of awaiting execution , even in places where no special facility or separate unit for condemned inmates exists.After individuals are found...

 inmates, who numbered in the thousands, were eventually given life sentences or reclusion perpetua
Reclusion perpetua
Reclusión perpetua is a particular kind of sentence of imprisonment in the Philippines, Argentina, and several other countries....

 instead.

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

, firing squad is the preferred method of execution.

United Kingdom

Execution by firing squad in the United Kingdom was limited to times of war, armed insurrection and within the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

, although it is now outlawed in all circumstances, along with all other forms of capital punishment.

Australian soldiers Harry "Breaker" Morant
Breaker Morant
Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant was an Anglo-Australian drover, horseman, poet, soldier and convicted war criminal whose skill with horses earned him the nickname "The Breaker"...

 and Peter Handcock
Peter Handcock
Peter Joseph Handcock was a Veterinary Lieutenant in the Bushveldt Carbineers in the Boer War in South Africa. Handcock and Harry "Breaker" Morant were court martialed and executed by firing squad on 27 February 1902 on murder charges for shooting Boer prisoners and a German missionary, Jacob...

 were shot by a British firing squad in South Africa on February 27, 1902, for alleged war crimes during the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

; questions have since been raised as to whether they received a fair trial.

The Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 was used during both World Wars for executions: during World War I, 11 captured German spies
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 were shot between 1914 and 1916. All spies executed during the First World War were buried in East London Cemetery, in Plaistow
Plaistow, Newham
Plaistow is a place in the London Borough of Newham in east London. It formed part of the County Borough of West Ham in Essex until 1965.Plaistow is a mainly residential area, including several council estates; the main road is the A112 - Plaistow Road, High Street, Broadway, Greengate Street and...

, London. On August 15, 1941, German Cpl. Josef Jakobs
Josef Jakobs
Corporal Josef Jakobs was a German spy, who was executed by firing squad in the Tower of London during the Second World War after conviction under the Treachery Act 1940. His trial took place in camera...

 was shot for espionage.

Pvt. Thomas Highgate
Thomas Highgate
Private Thomas James Highgate was a British soldier during the early days of the First World War, and the first British soldier to be convicted of desertion and executed during that war...

 was the first British soldier to be convicted of desertion and executed by firing squad during the First World War. In October 1916 Pvt. Harry Farr
Harry Farr
Private Harry Farr was a British soldier who was executed during World War I for cowardice at age 25. He came from Kensington in London and was in the 1st Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment.-Background:...

 was shot for cowardice
Cowardice
Cowardice is the perceived failure to demonstrate sufficient mental robustness and courage in the face of a challenge. Under many military codes of justice, cowardice in the face of combat is a crime punishable by death...

, which was later suspected to be acoustic shock
Acoustic shock
The term acoustic shock is used to describe the symptoms a person may experience after hearing an unexpected, loud sound via a telephone. The loud sound, called an Acoustic Incident, can be caused by feedback oscillation, fax tones, or signalling tones....

. Particularly since the 1960s, there has been some controversy concerning the 346 British and Imperial
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 troops — including 25 Canadians, 22 Irish and 5 New Zealanders — who were shot for desertion, murder, cowardice and other offences during the war, some of whom are now thought to have been suffering from combat stress reaction
Combat stress reaction
Combat stress reaction , in the past commonly known as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's...

 or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("shell-shock", as it was then known). This led to organisations such as the Shot at Dawn Campaign being set up in later years to try to uncover just why these soldiers were executed. The Shot at Dawn Memorial
Shot at Dawn Memorial
The Shot at Dawn Memorial is a British Monument at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, in Staffordshire, UK in memory of the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers executed after courts-martial for cowardice and desertion during World War I...

 was erected to honour these soldiers.

United States

According to Espy and Smylka, it is estimated that 142 men have been judicially shot in the United States and English-speaking predecessor territories since 1608, excluding executions related to the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The Civil War saw several hundred firing squad deaths, but reliable numbers are not available. On May 14, 1913, Andriza Mircovich
Andriza Mircovich
Andriza Mircovich was an Austro-Hungarian national of Montenegrin descent. He was the first and only prisoner ever to be executed by shooting in the state of Nevada. He had been sentenced to death for the premeditated murder of John Gregovich in Tonopah, Nevada...

 became the first and only inmate in Nevada to be executed by shooting
Execution by shooting
Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries, with execution by firing squad being one particular form...

. After the warden of Nevada State Prison
Nevada State Prison
Nevada State Prison is a penitentiary located in Carson City. The prison has been in continuous operation since it was established in 1862 and is managed by the Nevada Department of Corrections. It is one of the oldest prisons still operating in the United States. The high security facility housed...

 was unable to find five men to form a firing squad, a shooting machine was built to carry out Mircovich's execution. On October 31, 1938, John Deering
John Deering
John W. Deering was the subject of an experiment to observe what would happen to the human heart during death by gunshot. Deering, an American facing execution by the state of Utah for the May 1938 murder of Oliver R. Meredith Jr., volunteered to have himself hooked up to an electrocardiogram...

 volunteered to have himself hooked up to an electrocardiogram while he was shot
Execution by shooting
Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries, with execution by firing squad being one particular form...

 by a firing squad to observe the effect of gunshot wounds to the heart.

On March 30, 1960, the execution of James W. Rodgers
James W. Rodgers
James W. Rodgers was an American who was sentenced to death by the state of Utah for the murder of miner Charles Merrifield in 1957. In his final statement before his execution in 1960, Rodgers requested a bulletproof vest...

 in Utah became the last to be carried out by firing squad in the United States before a 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...

 national moratorium on capital punishment was enacted with the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decision of Furman v. Georgia
Furman v. Georgia
Furman v. Georgia, was a United States Supreme Court decision that ruled on the requirement for a degree of consistency in the application of the death penalty. The case led to a de facto moratorium on capital punishment throughout the United States, which came to an end when Gregg v. Georgia was...

. Capital punishment was suspended in the United States from 1972 to 1976, when the case of Gregg v. Georgia
Gregg v. Georgia
Gregg v. Georgia, Proffitt v. Florida, Jurek v. Texas, Woodson v. North Carolina, and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 153 , reaffirmed the United States Supreme Court's acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon...

reversed the U.S. Supreme Court's previous decision. Since then, there have been three executions by firing squad, all in Utah:
  1. Gary Gilmore
    Gary Gilmore
    Gary Mark Gilmore was an American criminal, and murderer, who gained international notoriety for demanding that his own death sentence be fulfilled following two murders he committed in Utah. He became the first person executed in the United States after the U.S...

     was executed on January 17, 1977, at Utah State Prison
    Utah State Prison
    Utah State Prison, or USP, is one of two prisons managed by the Utah Department of Corrections' Division of Institutional Operations. It is located in Draper, Utah, United States, about 20 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.-History:...

     in Draper
    Draper, Utah
    Draper is a city in Salt Lake and Utah Counties in the U.S. state of Utah, located about south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Between 1990 and 2000 Draper was Utah's fastest-growing city over 5,000 people . Its population in 1990 was 7,143 and had grown to 25,220 by the 2000 census...

    . In Utah, firing squads consist of five volunteer law enforcement officers from the county in which the conviction of the offender took place. The five executioners were equipped with .30-30-caliber rifles and off-the-shelf Winchester
    Winchester Repeating Arms Company
    The Winchester Repeating Arms Company was a prominent American maker of repeating firearms, located in New Haven, Connecticut. The Winchester brand is today used under license by two subsidiaries of the Herstal Group, Fabrique Nationale of Belgium and the Browning Arms Company of Morgan, Utah.-...

     150-grain (9.7 g) SilverTip ammunition. The condemned was restrained and hooded, and the shots were fired at a distance of 20 feet (6 m), aiming at the chest. According to his brother Mikal Gilmore's memoir Shot in the Heart, Utah's tradition dictated that a firing squad comprise four men with live rounds, and one with a blank round. The purpose of this was so that each of the shooters could not be certain as to who exactly fired the fatal shots. However, upon inspecting the clothes worn by his brother Gary at his execution, Mikal noted five holes in the shirt--indicating, he wrote, that "the state of Utah, apparently, had taken no chances on the morning that it put my brother to death."
  2. John Albert Taylor
    John Albert Taylor
    John Albert Taylor was an American who was convicted of burglary and carrying a concealed weapon in the state of Florida, and sexual assault and murder in the state of Utah. Taylor's own sister tipped off police in June 1989 after 11-year-old Charla King was found raped and strangled to death in...

     was executed in 1996. Taylor reportedly chose this method of execution, in the words of the New York Times, "to make a statement that Utah was sanctioning murder." However, an article for the British newspaper The Times
    The Times
    The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

    , written 14 years after his execution, quotes Taylor justifying his choice because he did not want to "flop around like a dying fish" during lethal injection. A law passed on March 15, 2004, banned execution by firing squad in Utah, but since that specific law was not retroactive
    Ex post facto law
    An ex post facto law or retroactive law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law...

    , four inmates on Utah's death row
    Death row
    Death row signifies the place, often a section of a prison, that houses individuals awaiting execution. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of awaiting execution , even in places where no special facility or separate unit for condemned inmates exists.After individuals are found...

     (one, Roberto Arguelles, died of natural causes while on death row) could still opt for execution by firing squad.
  3. Ronnie Lee Gardner
    Ronnie Lee Gardner
    Ronnie Lee Gardner was an American criminal who received the death penalty for murder in 1985, and was executed by firing squad by the state of Utah in 2010...

     was executed by five anonymous officers on June 18, 2010. In February 1996, Gardner threatened to sue to force the state of Utah to execute him by firing squad. He said that he preferred this method of execution because of his "Mormon
    Mormon
    The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

     heritage." Gardner also felt that lawmakers were trying to eliminate the firing squad, in opposition to popular opinion in Utah, because of concern over the state's image in the 2002 Winter Olympics
    2002 Winter Olympics
    The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

    .


Idaho
Capital punishment in Idaho
Capital punishment is legal in the U.S. state of Idaho.-Current development:Capital punishment was reinstated in Idaho on July 7, 1973, after the United States Supreme Court struck down all death penalty statutes across the country in 1972 Furman v. Georgia decision. The 1976 case Gregg v...

 banned execution by firing squad in a law which took effect on July 1, 2009. This left Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 as the only state left in the United States that utilizes this method of execution (and only as a secondary method). On October 11, 2011, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 State Representative Brad Drake sponsored a bill to give Florida death row inmates the option of death by firing squad.

See also

  • Court-martial
    Court-martial
    A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

  • Execution by shooting
    Execution by shooting
    Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more firearms. It is the most common method of execution worldwide, used in about 70 countries, with execution by firing squad being one particular form...

  • Shot at Dawn Memorial
    Shot at Dawn Memorial
    The Shot at Dawn Memorial is a British Monument at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, in Staffordshire, UK in memory of the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers executed after courts-martial for cowardice and desertion during World War I...

  • Use of death penalty worldwide

Further reading

  • Moore, William, The Thin Yellow Line, Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1974
  • Putkowski and Sykes, Shot at Dawn, Leo Cooper, 2006

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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