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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Mapped: The 58 countries that still have the death penalty

Our recent round-up of interesting facts about Belarus - published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union - unearthed some remarkable things.

The country is the booziest on Earth, it gave us Viber, and is home to some of the continent's last remaining bison. It is also the only nation in Europe that retains the death penalty.

As the map on the left shows, every other European country has abolished it (Russia has abolished it in practice, and has not executed anyone since 1996). 

But in Belarus - often dubbed "Europe's last dictatorship" - it continues, with 12 executions taking place in the last seven years and more than 200 since 1990. 


Just four countries considered to be industrialised still execute criminals: 

  • The US
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan 

The most recent countries to abolish all capital punishment are:

  • Guinea (2016)
  • Nauru (2016)
  • Congo (2015)
  • Suriname (2015)
  • Fiji (2015)
  • Madagascar (2012)
  • Latvia (2012)
  • Gabon (2010)

The 58 countries that have the death penalty

  • Botswana
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Lesotho
  • Libya
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia
  • Somaliland
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States
  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • North Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • UAE
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Belarus


Total executions in 2015


According to Amnesty International, 25 countries carried out at least 1,630 executions last year.

Nineteen Asian countries:

  • Afghanistan (1)
  • Bangladesh (4)
  • China (exact number unknown)
  • India (1)
  • Indonesia (14)
  • Iran (977+)
  • Iraq (26+)
  • Japan (3)
  • Jordan (2)
  • Malaysia (exact number unknown)
  • North Korea (exact number unknown)
  • Oman (2)
  • Pakistan (326)
  • Saudi Arabia (158+)
  • Singapore (4)
  • Taiwan (6)
  • UAE (1)
  • Vietnam (exact number unknown)
  • Yemen (8+)

Five African countries:

  • Chad (10)
  • Egypt (22+)
  • Somalia (25+)
  • South Sudan (5+)
  • Sudan (3)

One American country: 

  • United States (28)

Source: The Telegraph, Oliver Smith, Travel, Maps and graphics, Sept. 1, 2016

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