The Danish Medical Group Against the Death Penalty has worked against the death penalty on an international scale since 1982. Being the only one of its kind, the group has had a great impact in several countries, putting pressure on authorities, medical associations and the pharma industry all over the world.
Death sentences and executions 2021
2021 saw a worrying rise in executions and death sentences as some of the world’s most prolific executioners returned to business as usual and courts were unshackled from Covid-19 restrictions. At least 579 executions were known to have been carried out across 18 countries last year—a 20% increase on the recorded total for 2020. In addition, the report concludes:
– 108 countries had completely abolished the death penalty by the end of 2021
– Iran records highest known execution figure since 2017
– Almost 90 known to have been sentenced to death under martial law in Myanmar
– Saudi Arabia more than doubled its number of executions
– 1,000s of people were likely executed in China, but the numbers remain classified
Court Documents Reveal Widespread Irregularities in Tennessee Executions
Autopsies Show Excess Fluid in Lungs of All Four Prisoners Put to Death in Oklahoma Execution Spree
Former South Carolina Death-Row Doctor: “I’m Supposed to be Saving People, Not Killing People”
Expert Calls Arizona’s First Execution in Eight Years ‘Botched’ After Witnesses Report Problems Inserting IV
South East Asia
Over 8,000 people on death row in South Asia
Pakistan: Supreme Court judgement bans executions of prisoners with mental disabilities
The work and purpose of the group
The groups raison d’être is the abolishment of the death penalty on a general level and preventing physicians and other health professionals from participating in the death penalty on a specific level. To achieve this goal the group works in a range of different ways, such as letter writing and raising media-awareness.
Country specific information
All over the world doctors and other health personnel participate in executions due to their profession-specific knowledge. This happens in as different countries as the US and Saudi Arabia, Japan and Uganda. 53 countries in the world have the death penalty. The Danish Medical Group has chosen to focus on a handful of these countries, and you can learn more about these countries in this section.
Declarations against capital punishment
Resolutions and policies are the medical associations’ possibility to take a stand on a policy field. Over the years many national as well as international medical associations have chosen to do so in relation to capital punishment. On this site you will find some of the most important.
The medical execution and medical assistance at executions
In 1977, Oklahoma Medical Examiner, Dr. A. Jay Chapman, marched into the Oklahoma Statehouse and dictated the formula for a cocktail of three drugs to a lawmaker looking for a more humane way to execute prisoners.
As Chapman spoke, Rep. Bill Wiseman scribbled on a legal yellow pad. That afternoon, Wiseman introduced the bill that made Oklahoma the first state to adopt “lethal injection”, the medical execution killing prisoners with medicine.
Death penalty and mental illness
Many countries have a Mental Health Law that includes a wide variety of legal topics and pertain to people with a diagnosis or possible diagnosis of mental illness. Laws relating to mental illness may include criminal laws, including laws governing fitness for trial or execution.
The groups raison d’être is the abolishment of the death penalty on a general level and preventing physicians and other health professionals from participating in the death penalty on a specific level.