Capital Punishment – Death penalty. The killing of a criminal sanctioned by the state
The capital city displayed its form of punishment (capital punishment) on either side of the road as a warning to new entrants. It was obvious that it meant the city allowed the killing of criminals.
Capital punishment means the execution of someone as punishment for a specific crime after a fair trial.
Legally, the death penalty can only be carried out by a state: when a non-state organisation says it has 'executed' a person it has actually committed a murder.
Capital punishment is generally only used as a punishment for the most serious types of murder. However, in some countries treason, types of fraud, adultery and rape are considered to warrant the death penalty.
Many countries have abolished the death penalty, either in law or in practice.
The attitude of religions to capital punishment varies, even among branches of the same religion. For instance, while some Christians defend the death penalty on Biblical grounds, others – including the Roman Catholic Church – are against it.
In Islamism, certain actions – such as adultery – can result in the death penalty.