Today, Pope Francis revised the Catholic church's teachings on the death penalty, objecting to it in all cases. In an official statement from the Vatican, the longtime critic of the death penalty said there are other ways to protect society, "consequently the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide."

This sets up conflict in the United States, where many Catholics support the death penalty. It's still legal in 31 states. What about the rest of the world?

How many countries have the death penalty?

The death penalty is still legal in 53 countries worldwide.

Which countries have the death penalty?



The only country in Europe proper that still permits the death penalty is Belarus, which has a 7 percent Catholic population.

In Russia, the death penalty is still legal, but a moratorium has been declared. Of the Soviet socialist republics, capital punishment is still practiced in Belarus. Kazakhstan and Tajikistan technically allow it, but it is not used.

Central and South America

The death penalty is legal in Belize and Guyana. In Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru, capital punishment is only legal in special circumstances, such as war crimes. The Caribbean countries allow the death penalty, except for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.


Botswana and Nigeria still permit the death penalty. Chad allows the death penalty in cases of terrorism. This year, the Gambia announced a moratorium on executions but not a formal ban yet.


The death penalty is legal, and still frequently practiced, in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

North Korea and India allow the death penalty in extreme cases. Israel allows it only for war crimes.

Two authoritarian leaders want to reinstate the death penalty in their countries — Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Recep Erdogan of Turkey — but that is still pending.


Papua New Guinea and Tonga still have the death penalty on the books but have not used it in many years.

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