Defined Terms

Capital Punishment for convicted Drug Lords Swift, Frightening and Painful Corporal Punishment for Drug Mules, because incarceration as a Deterrent is a huge impost upon the public purse and does not Deter drug dealing which ruins a lot of lives of tax payers

In certain countries illegal importing, exporting, sale, or possession of drugs constitute capital offences that may result in the death penalty. According to a 2011 article by the Lawyers Collective, an NGO in India, "32 countries impose Capital Punishment for offences involving narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances."[1] A 2012 report by Harm Reduction International "documents the 33 countries and territories that retain death penalty for drug offences, including 13 in which the sentence is mandatory."[2]

  Only under certain conditions

  Capital punishment for drug offenses

A 2009 CNN article lists penalties for drug-related crime in Asia by country.[3] Since then President Thein Sein of Myanmar commuted all of the country’s death sentences to life imprisonment in January 2014.[4] South Korea has the death penalty for drugs.[5] But South Korea has a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since it has not executed anybody since 1997, even though there are still people on death row, and even though new death sentences have been handed down in the last few years.[6]

A 2015 article by The Economist says 32 countries have the death penalty for drug smuggling, but only 6 really carry it out.[7]

Which countries have the death penalty for drug smuggling?  - The Economist  -  Apr 29th 2015  by T.W.

Thirty-two, mainly in Asia and the Middle East—but only half a dozen really carry it out


IN THE early hours of April 29th, Indonesia executed eight convicted drug traffickers. Seven of the eight were foreigners: two Australians, a Brazilian and four Nigerians. The sentences have provoked outrage from the prisoners’ home countries, none of which hands down the death penalty to drug offenders. Brazil and the Netherlands had already withdrawn their ambassadors, following an earlier round of executions in January. Indonesia is rare in executing drug smugglers; in most of the world they are condemned to long stretches in prison instead. Where else does trafficking earn a death sentence?

Thirty-two countries, plus Gaza, impose the death penalty for drug smuggling, according to Harm Reduction International (HRI), a drug-focused NGO. All but four (America, Cuba, Sudan and South Sudan) are in Asia or the Middle East. But in most of these countries executions are extremely rare. Fourteen, including America and Cuba, have the death penalty on the books for drug traffickers but do not apply it in practice. Only in six countries—China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore—are drug offenders known to be routinely executed, according to HRI’s most recent analysis. (Indonesia will soon join this list, following its recent executions.) In Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria the data are murky.

Executions of drug smugglers are becoming more common. Between 1999 and 2014 Indonesia carried out only seven executions of drug traffickers, according to a tally by Australian media. Since taking office six months ago, President Joko Widodo has overseen 14, as part of a fight against drug addiction at home. (Never mind that some of the recently killed prisoners were smuggling drugs out of Indonesia, rather than into it.) An even greater escalation has taken place in Iran, which executed fewer than 100 drug smugglers in 2008 but has put to death 241 in the first four months of this year alone, according to Amnesty International. Possession of just 30g of some synthetic drugs can mean hanging in Iran. China is thought to execute more drug offenders than any other country. It does not publish statistics on its use of the death penalty, but in the first five months of 2014 drug convictions were 27% higher than in the same period a year earlier. Human rights advocates now worry about Pakistan, which earlier this year ended a moratorium on the death penalty. It has 8,000 people on death row, including an unknown number of drug traffickers.

Asia’s toughening approach contrasts with a slackening off in the West. Trading cannabis, which earns beheading in Saudi Arabia, has been legalised for recreational use in four states of America, as well as in Uruguay, and decriminalised in much of Europe and Latin America. Heroin addiction is increasingly treated as an illness rather than a crime: clean needles are available in many rich countries, and a few, including Britain and Switzerland, even prescribe heroin to a small number of addicts. In most areas of social policy, such different regional policies would not matter much. But in the case of drugs, a relentlessly globalising business, the sharply diverging approaches will lead to more uncomfortable stand-offs between East and West.

How the legal cannabis industry is changing (November 2014)

What would a post-war approach to drugs control look like? (February 2013)