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'Hooded Horror': Death by Hanging

> wherein the convict drops just a few inches and the struggling ensures that the noose gets tightened. Death occurs by strangulation, leading to asphyxia. This method continues to be employed in the Middle Eastern countries, most often, in public. Standard drop hanging is almost the same as the short-drop method. But here the executee drops to about 4-6 feet. The method was not sufficient to break the neck and the person died a slow death. Decapitation was also known to occur. Suspension hanging involves the prisoner being raised into the air by means of a crane. Here too death is ushered in by strangulation. This method continues to be popular to date in Iran and Afghanistan. The now- popular method of Long-drop Hanging is designed to break the neck and rupture the spinal cord causing instant death. A 'Hangman's fracture' occurs when the second cervical vertebra is fractured followed by the disruption of the transverse atlantal ligament. There is hypertension of the head when the prisoner falls, leading to the fracture. There are no visible expressions of agony and the pain too is minimized.

Excuses to Execute

Having gone through the nuances of hanging, the question that crops up in one’s mind is- how justifiable is the execution of a human? Can it really be excused in the name of righteous indignity?

'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' was propagated by the Code of Hammurabi and also by The Old Testament. This principle was probably suited to those times when law and order was not in place. It helped to define the limit of revenge and ensured that the retribution did not exceed the crime.

The advocates of capital punishment maintain that it is the best crime deterrent besides maximizing public safety. There is an essence of ambiguity in killing a person for killing another. 'Thou shall not kill' forms the thumb rule of all religions. By executing a pers
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