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Capital Punishment Laws
in the Ten Most Populous
Western Industrialized Countries

Population 1985 Estimate (Millions)1
Status of Capital Punishment Laws2
1. United States 238.6     Divided jurisdiction: 37 states have capital punishment statutes; 13 states do not
2. West Germany 60.9     Abolished (1949) for all offenses
3. Italy 57.1     Abolished (1947) for ordinary offenses
4. England 56.4     Abolished (1969) for ordinary offenses
5. France 55.0     Abolished (1981) for all offenses
6. Spain 38.8     Abolished (1978) for ordinary offenses
7. Canada 25.3     Abolished (1976) for ordinary offenses
8. Netherlands 14.4     Abolished (1982) for all offenses
9. Portugal 10.0     Abolished (1977) for all offenses
10. Greece 9.9     Retentionist

AMA Commentary

"Abolished for all offenses" refers to those countries whose laws do not provide for the death penalty for any crime. "Abolished for ordinary offenses" refers to those countries whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes committed under military law. "Retentionist" refers to those countries whose laws include the death penalty for ordinary offenses.

1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1986. (106th ed.), Washington, D.C.
2 "The Death Penalty: List of Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries," Amnesty International, International Secretariat, One Easton Street, London, England, June 1985.